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Full text of "The mythology and rites of the British druids, ascertained by national documents; and compared with the general traditions and customs of heathenism, as illustrated by the most eminent antiquaries of our age. With an appendix, containing ancient poems and extracts, with some remarks on ancient British coins .."

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3Stit(s5 Brute 

















, ' 1809. , 

I. BARtifiLD, PrinWr 91. W»rilour-SU«e«- 




THE noble frankness with wJiich^ovir 

Lordship grants a favour, encourages me to hope, 

that you will pardon the liberty I now take, in pre' 

fixing your name to an Essay upon the Mythology 

and Rites of the Heathen Britons. 

It is with diffidence I lay this subject before a 
man of your Liordship's distinguished character; 
whether in reference to private worth, to reputation 
in the world of letters, to rank in society, or to that 
zeal and ability which, you have so successfully dis" 
played in the defence of our holy religion. 

But whatever the merits of this Work may be, I 
eagerly embrace the opportunity which it affords me, 
of acknowledging a debt of gratitude, in the au- 
dience of the Public. 

*^ When Mr. Hardinge, amongst his other acts of 
generosity, which it is impossible for me to enumerate 
or to forget, pointed me out to your Lordship's 
notice, under the character of his friend, itwa^syour 
~good pleasure to place me in a respectable station in 
the Church, and thus confer upon me the comfort of 

Your Lordship^ s manner of bestowing a benefit^ 
is a great addition to its value; and whilst I am 
offering my humble tribute of thanks, it emboldens 
me to aspire to tlie preservation of your good opinion.. 

I have the honour to remain. 

Your Lordship's much obliged 
and devoted humble servant, 



L HE first section of the ensuing Essay, effects the 
principal objects of a Preface; yet the Author has 
not the confidence to intrude upon his Reader, with- 
out preiiiising a few pages, to bespeak his attention, 
and conciliate his esteem — without offering some 
apology for the nature of his subject, and the man- 
ner in which it has been treated. 

To some persons, the utility of such a work may 
not be obvious. It may be asked — JVhat interest 
has tfie present age, in a view of the errors and 
prejudices of the Pagan Britons ? 

To obviate this, and similar inquiries, I would 
suggest the reflection, that the history of mankind is, 
in a great measure, the history of errors and pre-> 
judices— that the superstition, we have now to con-> 
template, however absurd in itself, affected the 
general tone of thinking in several districts of Bri' 
tain— -that its influence continued to recent times, 
and has scarcely vanished at the present day. To an 
age of general inquiry, an investigation of the form 
and principles of this sup^rstitiQU, must surely be a 
^subject of interest. 

In our times, a spirit of research, which few are 
so, unjust as to impute to idle curiosity, embraces all 
the regions of the known world: and is our own 
country the only spot that must be deemed uuworthy 
of our attention? 

Ancient and authentic documents, of the opinion^ 
and customs of the old Britons, have been preserved, 
though long concealed by the shades of a difficult 
and obsolete language. And can a dispassionate 
eJ^amination of their contents, which are totally uu- 

a 3 


known to the Public, be,^deein©d a subject of no 
interest or utility ? 

These* documents are foundf, upon investigation, 
to develope a system of*t6ligion, which, for many 
ages, influenced the affairs of the human race, iiot 
only in these islandsji^but also iri the adjaQent regions 
of Europe: aijd are we not to inquire in what this 
religion consisted, and wliat hold il took <?.i the mjqd 
of man? Or is it an useless task, to expose tibe 
origin of some absurd customs Jtnd prqjiidices, which 
are still cherished in certain ."'corners of Qur land? 
But it will be said— 7%e state of society gmongst 
the ancient Britons was riide and unpolished ; 
md theif very religion opposed ih.e progre&s of 
ickmlfand of lettePS. 

Be this admitted : yet the Britons, witU all their 
barbarism and absurdities, constituted a link in the 
great chain of history. In addition to this, their 
aifairs derive some importance from their rank 
amongst our own progenitors, their connection with 
our native country, and the remains of their monu- 
ments, which still appear in our fields. A prospect 
of the few advantages which they enjoyed, may fbir- 
nish no un|)leasant subject of comparison with our 
own times. A candid exposure of that mass of 
error unde? which they groaned, may inspire ns 
with oiore lively gtatitude for the knowledge of tfee 
true religion, and, perhaps, suggfe^t a seasonkb'le 
caution agaips^ the indulgence of \miii speculation 
Upon saored svtbjects-^a weakness to which the hu- 
man mind is prone in every age. 

Upon the whole, then, I humbly conceive, that an 
examination of our national reliques has been hi- 
therto a desideratum in British literature ; that the 
individual who has now attempted to draw them out 
of obi^curity, is entitled to the candid attention of 
tib@ PiitbUa; and that the tiine of the Reader, ^ho 


may honour this volume with a candid perusal, will 
not have been spent in vain. 

But of the manner in which this examination is 
conducted in the following Essay, I must s|)eak with 
less confidence. As far as I know my own heart, 
truth, without favour or prejudice to the memory of 
our misguided ancestors, has been my object. 
Touching the light in which I view their ancient 
superstition, I must confess that I have not been the 
first in representing the druidical, as having had 
some connection with the patriarchal religion ; but 
1 know of no work already before the Public, which 
has unravelled the very slender threads by whic^ that 
connection was maintained. 

This difficult task I have attempted, by the aid of 
those Bards who were professed votaries of Dru- 
idism ; and the undertaking was greatly facilitated 
by the labours of Mr, Bryant, which present a 
master-key to the mythology of the ancient world. 
That I cannot give my assent to the whole of this 
great man's opinion, has been already acknowledged : * 
but whilst I allow myself to object against the slip' 
per, I contemplate the masterly outlines of the sta- 
tue, with respect and admiration. 

It is to be regretted, that,this eminent mythologist 
was wholly unacquainted with the written documents 
of Druidism, preserved in this country. Had they 
been open to his investigation, he would have exhi- 
bited them to peculiar advantage, and he would have 
found them as strong in support of his general prin- 
ciples, as any remains of antiquity whatsoever. 

I must here endeavour to obviate another ob- 
jection. In the British poems, which treat of hea- 
thenish superstition, a sentence is often inserted, 
containing the name of Christy or some allu- 
sion to his religion, and having no connection with 
the matter which precedes or follows. Some of 

^ ; -, - ,;. . T , ^ 

• Celt. Res. p. 115. 

via , 

these sentences I have omitted, for obvious reasons. 
I have been not a little puzzled to apcount for their 
admission into the text : but as all our remaining 
poems were composed or altered, subsequent to the 
first introduction of Christianity, it is probable that 
St. Augustin supplies us with the true reason of such 

" Qui seducunt per ligaturas, per precantationesi, 
*' per machinamenta inimici, inserunt praecantationi- 
" bus suis nomen Christi : quia jam non possunt 
'' seducere Christianos, ut dent venenum, addu.nt 
** mellis aliquantura, ut per id quod dulce est, la- 
" teat quod amarum est, et bibatur ad perniciem."* 

In the selection of matter, the author has endea- 
voured to observe a medium, between that fastidious 
abruptness, which leaves many of the great outlines 
of a subject unmarked, and a minute prolixity, 
which scrutinizes every obscure corner of heathen 

To future inquiry he leaves an open field, where 
some more handfuls may be gleaned, and approaches 
the reader with a consciousness, that as far as he 
has proceeded. His steps havq been guided by 

The subject of this volume having an intimate 
connection with that of the Celtic Researches, a 
short Index of that book is introduced. It is also 
to be had separate, and respectfully offered to my 
Subscribers, as a small tribute of gratitude for their 
liberalsupport, and as an acknowledgement of the 
favourable opinion with which I have been honoured, 
by some of the most distinguished characters, in that 
illustrious catalogue — men whose learning and talents 
are acknowledged, and whose judgment will b,e 

t.4«g, Tvact, r. in Joa^. T. IX. p. 2?. 

As to the animadversions of professed critics, ,some 
of them were avowedly hostile. But their elaborate 
prolixity, which is no mark of contempt, affords 
some consolation for the malignity of their efforts. 
The work, and the strictures which it occasioned, are 
before the Public, which is of no party. To this 
upright and competent judge I appeal, with humble 
submission, neither vainly pleading an immunity 
from just censure, nor dreading the effects of those 
sarcasms, which arose from gross misrepresentation 
of my opinions, and perversion of my principles. 

Upon one solitary occasion^ I must beg leave to 
defend my own cause. The passage which I am 
about to quote, is not singlisd out as unworthy of 
the learning or candour of its author, byt as in- 
volving a point, in which the Public may want aii 
interpreter. It also affords me an opportunity of 
stating my reasons, for understanding the works of 
Taliesin somewhat differently from the Critical 

" Let us now," says the critic, "compare this 
" description of the Aborigines of Britain with that 
" of Taliesin, a name before which every Welshman 
" must bow ; who was himself a Bard, perhaps a 
" Druid, but converted from his Druidical idolatry 
" to Christianity, and who is reported to have flou- 
" rished in the sijcth century of the Christian aera, ; 
" consequently, about sia^ hundred years before these 
'* Triads were ever attempted to be collected.* The 
" poem we cite from is denominated the Pacification 
♦' of Lludd." 

The critic then gives his original, with the follow- 
ing translation ; 

" A numerous race, and fierce, as f^me reports them, 
" Were thy first colonists, Britain, chief of isles: 

* I am totally at a los» to conjecture upon what ground this asiertioa 
stands. I had mentioned some copyists of the Triads in the t«re)i{th c^nturjr^ 
Vut I n^ver supposed them to hsve been the original collectors. 

f* Natives of a conntcyin Am,, and ef the regbn of Gafis; 
" A people said to have been skilful ; but the district i» 

" unknown, 
'* That was mother to this progenyi these warlike adven- 

" turer^ on the sea. 
" Clad in their long dress, who could equal them? 
" Celebrated is their skill; they were the dread > 
« Of Europe." 

" Here," adds the triumphant critic, " instead of 
** being men of quiet dispositions, and abhorrent of 
** war, they are expressly declared to have been 
" fierce atid warlike arfwcw^Mrer*— unequalled, and 
*' the dread of Europe : instead of coming from 
** Constantinople, and crossing the German haze, or 
** ocean, they are said to have wandered from the 
" regioQ of G-afis, in Asia. Is it possible to imagine 
*' a'stronger contrast ?" — (Vide Critical Review, 
August, 1804, p. 374,) 

Tbe contrast, as here drawn, is strong enough : 
but I must take the liberty to hint, that the critic, or 
his proinpter, has perverted the whole of this vaunted 
passa^, in consequence of having mistaken the 
iheattibg of a single word — Dygorescynan, which 
ite rehders were the first colonists, simply implies, 
tvill agaiti invade, or, according to Mr. Owen, will 
subjugate, or overcome : so tliat the Bard does not 
describe the 'Aborigines of Britain, but a hostile 
race, who invaded or subdued the country. 

The title of the poem, Pacification of Lludd, 
and a line, which informs us it was the pacification 
of Lludd and Llefelis, may furnish a clue to the ara 
of these invaders. Lludd and Llefelis are repre- 
sented, by the Welsh chronicles, as brothers of Cas» 
sivellaunils, who fought with Cassar, though it is 
pretty clear that, in simple fact, they were no other 
than those princes of the Trinobantes» whom the 
Koman historiai^ mentions by the names of ImariU' 
entius md Mandubrasim, Hence it appears, that 

these J?/"*/ colonists of Britain arrived in the age of 
Julius Caesar.* 

Let us now try. to identify this warlike race. In 
the passage quoted by the critic, they are said to 
have sprung from a country in Asia, and the region 
of Gafi^ or rather Gafys. Whoever has Welsh 
enough to translate Taliesin, must be fully aware, 
that it* is the genius of that langtiage to change c 
into g, and p into /. Let us then replace the ori- 
ginal letters, and we shall have the region of Capys, 
a Trojan prince, who was the father of Anchises, 
and reputed ancestor of the Romans. Hence it may 
be conjectured, that these were the very s people 
whom the Bard describes as having invaded Britain, 
in the time of Lludd and Llefelis; that is, in the age 
of Julius Caesar, 

But Critics must not be supposed to write at ran- 
dom, without some knowledge of their subject. As 
they claim respect from the Public, they must re- 
spe;pt their own characters. And as our author has 
positively pronounced hjs warlike race the jirst co- 
la^ists, of Britain, it may be presumed, that his 
iassertion has some adequate support in other parts 
of the poem. In order to* determine this pointy I 
shall exhibit the whole, for it is not long, with a 
translation as close and as faithful, to say the least 
of itj as that which we have in the preceding critique* 


Yn enw Puw Trindawd, cardawd cyfrwys! 
Llwyth Uiaws, anuaws eu henwerys, 
Dygorescynnan Prydain, prif fan ynys ; 
Grwyr gwlad yr Asia, a gwlad Gafys ; 

* The romantic cturoniclei of Archdeacon Walter, and Qeo&y of Bfbn- 
(Hoath, qndi after tbem, some late annotatora on the li'iiadSi aaj, that tb» 
CotAAieSl, a Be'lgiC; tribe, arrived in the age of Uudd.". This is evideDtly erro* 
oeous. . The rcadelr will tee presently, that the Batd meant the BaiiMBa,,Mi() 
BO Rther people. 


Pobl pwylted enwir : eu tir ni wya 

Famen : gorwyreisherwydd maris. 
Amlaes eu peisseu; pwy ei hefelis ? 
A phwyllad dyvyner, ober efias, 
Europin, Arafin, Arafanis. 
Cristiawn difryt, diryd dilis, 
Cyn ymarwar ijudd a Llefelis. 
Dysgogettawr perchen y Wen Ynys, 
Rac pennaeth o Ryfein, cein ei eclirys. 
Nid rys, nid cyfrwys, Ri : rwyf ei araith 
(A rywelei a ryweleis o anghyfieith)- 
DuUator pedrygwern, Uugyrn ymdaith, 
Rac Rhyuonig cynran bara,n goddeith, 
Rytalas mab Grat, rwyf ei areith, 
Cymry yn danhyal : rhyvel ar geith. 
Piyderaf, pwyllaf pwy y byirideith— » 
Brythonig yniwis rydderchefis. 


In the name of the God Trinity,* exhibit thy charity ! 
A numerous race, of ungentle manners, ' 

Repeat their invasion of Britain, chief of isles :+ 
Men from a country in Asia, and the region of CapyS ; J 
A people of iniquitous design : the land is not known 
That was their mother.^ They made a devious course by sea. 
In their flowing garments,|| who can equal them ? 
With design are they called in,«|[ with theiir short spears,** 
those fqes 

* The Bard addresses himself to a Christian. 

. f The subject of the poem is Cssar's second invasion. Hie parttcle dy, in 
composition! conveys the sense of iteration, 

I The district of Troy> whence the Romans dedqcei} theix origin. 

$ When the orac)e commanded ^neas and his company — * 
Dardanids durii que vos a stirpe parektum 
Prima tulit tellus, eadem vos nbere Isto 
Accipiet reduces; antiquam exqiiirite Matrem-i— 

Virg. «En. III. V. 93. 
We are informed, that they knew not where to find this parent region, and con- 
sequently wandered through various seas in search of it. To this tale the JBard 
evidently alludes. 

B The Roman toga, or gown. 

fl We learn from Cssar, as well as fronn the British Triftds find chronicles, 
that the Romans were invited into this island by the ptii)ces pf the Tripo- 
bantes, whet were at war with Cassivellaunus. 

•• Such was the forn«dable filvm, as appears from a variety qf Roman 
coins and sculptures. 

Of the Europeans, the Ammites, and Arl^enians.* 

O thoughtless Christian, there was oppressive toil, 

Before the pacification of Lludd and Llefelis,f 

The proprietor of the fair island J is ronsed 

Against the JRoman leader, splendid and terrible. 

The King§ is not ensnared, as inexpert : he directs with his 

(Having seen all the foreigners that were to be seen). 
That the quadrangular swamp || should be set in order, by 

wayfaring torches, 
Against the arrogant leader, in whose presence there was a 

spreading flame.^f 
The son of Graid,** with his voice, directs the retaliation^ 
The Cymry burst into a flame— rthere is war upon the 

With deliberate thought will I declare the stroke that made 

them decamp. 
It was the great exaltation of British energy. %^ 

* The Romans had carried their arms, not only over the best part of Eu- 
rope, but also into Aram, oi Syria and Armenia, before they iqvaded Britain. 

+ These reputed brothers of Cassivellaunus, were the prince^ of the Tri- 
nobantes, who deserted the general cause of their country, and sent ambas* 
ladors to Julius Ctssar. 

t The reader will see hereafter, that the ancient Bards conferred this title 
upon the solar divinity, and his chief minister. 

f That is CassiTellauHus, whose abilities and prudence are acknowledged 
by the Roman commander. 

H The fortress or town of Cassivellaunus, St2i;ii paludihusjue namitum, De 
Bell. Gall. L. V. Q. 21. 

H Relinquebatur ut neqne longins ab agroine legionum disced! Ciesar pate- 
retur, ct tantum in agris vastandis, incendiisque J'aciendU, taostibus noceretur, 
lb. c. 19. 

** Grad, or Graid, the sun. — Cassivellaunus is called the son of Beli, which 
is another name of that deified luminary. 

+t Those British tribes who voluntarily submitted to the Romans Csee 
Cssar, lb. c. SO, 21), and on whom Cassivellaunus retaliated, after Ceesat'* 

tt The Bard, fn a strain of venial patriotism, ascribes the departure of 
Cffisar and the Romans to the prowess of his countrymen. Other Bards have 
dropped pretty strong hints to the same purpose. Lucan sayi — 

Territa qussitis ostendit terga Britannis. 
And Pope, with less asperity — 

Ask why, from Britain Caesar would retreat ? 
Cesm himself migUt whispet— J wat beat. 


By this time, I trus^ I have made a convert of the 
critic. He will agree with me in thinking, that this 
little poem relates only to the invasion of Britain by 
Julius Csesar; and that it contains not the most 
distant hint of iis Jirst colonists. The stfong con^ 
trast has changed its position : but I abstain frora 
farther remarks. 

Criticism may be useful to the author who under- 
goes its chastisement, as well as to the Public. To 
the censor whose representation is juist, whose re- 
proof is liberal, who so far respects himself, as to 
preserve the character of a scholar and a gentleman, 
I shall attend with due regard. But if any pro- 
fessed judge of books can descend so low, as wilfully 
to pervert my words and meaning, to twist them into 
absurdity, and extract silly witticisms from his own 
conceits, I must be allowed to consider his stric- 
tures as foreign to myself and my work, and as little 
calculated to influence those readers whom I wish 
to engage. 




TIQUITY ----------- Page 1 — 84 







ANTIQUITY, - ------ Page 183 — 290 



HENGE, ---------- Page 291—410 

(THE GODODIN, Page 326— 383.) 




STITION, - ------- Page 411 — 500 

, — \ 


EXTRACTS, --------- Page 501^-588 


Page 589— 6Z4, 

INDEX, - --_- Page 625— 642 

ERRATA, - ----- _ Page 642 




BSnttejft Sruttis^ 


Preliminary Observations on the written Monuments of tht 
early Britons, Thei^AutheHticity f roved, by the Test of 
classical Antiquity. 

JLN a reteospeet of the state of socie^, which formerly 
prevailed ia our coiHutry, tli© coatempiative mind is not 
more agreeably, than usefully employed. Hence many 
writers, of distingttished eiaiinence, have umdertaken to elu. 
ctdate the modes of thinking, and the customs of the 
early Britons, together with their religious opinions and 
su.p€rstitioH& rites. Upo» this subject, many notices are 
scattered amongst the remains of Greefc and Koman learn« 
iag. These have been collected with dili!g;eBce> arranged 
and appreciated with ingenuity. But here the research of 
our arri;iquaries has been checked, by the compass of theii 
own studies, rather than by the defect of other existing 
monuments: whereas, upon a topic that claims iavestjg^x 
tion, every pertiaent document ought to bQ considered ; and 


especially, those documents which lea^ to a more intimate 
knowledge of the matter in hand. 

What has hitherto remained undone, I have already 
hinted, in a volume which I lately published, under the 
most respectable and liberal patronage. I there stated, that 
certain ancient writings, which are preserved in the Welsh 
language, pontain many new ai^d curious particulars relative 
to the ancient religion and customs of Britain ; and that, in 
this point of view, they would reward the research of the 
temperate and unjwrejudiced antiquary. 

At that time, I had no thoughts of pursuing the investi- 
gation; but I have since taken up a fresh resolution, and it 
is the business of the present Essay to evince the truth of 
my assertion. 

To this end, I shall employ an introductory section, in 
pointing out the particular writings of the Britons, upon 
which I ground my opinion ; in shewing that t^ose writings 
have been regarded as druidical; and in ascertaining, by 
historical tests, the authenticity of their pretensions.* 

The British documents, to which I principally refer, are 
the poems of Taliesin, Aneurin, and Merddin the Caledo- 
nian, Bards who lived in the sixth century of the Christian 

* In this Section, I must also talce notice of the objections of some of my 
own countrymen, who, since the publication of the Celtic Researches, have 
I industriously spread a report, that I do not produce the genuine traditions of 
the Welsh Bards. However little concera I might feel, for the mere accident 
of thinking differently from these men, yet, as'I have made my opinion public, 
I deem it a duty which I owe to my own character, as well as to the generous 
patrons of my book, to shew, that I am competent to judge of the genuine 
lemains of the Welsh ; and that my representations of them have been fairly 
made, and from the best authorities that can be produced. 

My own vindication wiH call for a few remarks, upon the grounds of the 
idTerie opinion; but I hope to vindicate myself with temper. 


«ira. With these works, my acquaintance is not recent. 
1 have possessed a good collated copy of them, in MS. 
since the year 1792. I have also the London edition of the 
same works, which appeared in the first volume of the 
Myvyrian Archaiology of Wales, in 1801. 

To the primitive Bards, I add the historical and mytho- 
logical notices, called Triads, published in the second vo«- 
lume of the same work; and though their compilers are 
not known, I shall use them freely, as far as I find their 
authority supported by general tradition, ancient manu- 
scripts, and internal evidence. 

Modern criticism having suggested some doubts as io the 
genuineness of the works ascribed to our ancient Bards, it 
may be expected, tliat I should offer something in their 
defence upon this score. But from the greatest part ol this 
task I may fairly excuse myself, by a general reference to 
the Vindication, lately published by the learned and accu- 
rate Mr. Turner, who, in answer to all their adversaries, 
hias stated, and fully substantiated the following proposition ; 

" That there are poems, now existing in the Welsh, or 
" ancient British language, which were written hy Aneurin, 
" Taliesin, Llywarch MSn, and Merddin, who flourished 
" between the years 500 and 600." 

This subject, the able advocate of our Bards has not 
handled slightly, or superficially. He carries them through 
every question of external and internal evidence, refutes all 
the main objections which have been urged against the 
works of the Bards, and concludes his Vindication by 
shewing, that there is nothing extraoidiiiary in the fact^ 

B 2 


which his Essay is directed to substantiate; that thcse- 
poems are attested by an unvaried stream of national be- 
lief; and that any suspicion about them has been of recent 

-- The author of the Anglo-Saxon history, being interested 
pi^y in the credit of the historical poems of these Bards, 
has xiirected his Vindication, principally, to the support of 
their c^use ; but as my subject leads me, more immediately, 
to examine certain pieces of another kind, which, from 
their mythological and mysterious allusions, have obtained 
the general appeUa-tion of mystical poems, candour requires, 
that I should state this gentleman's opinion of the latter, 
aAd plead something in their defence, -where he seems toi 
have deserted them, 

.Of these mystical pieces, Mr. Turner thus dedares hi J 
sentiments. — r" Some (of Taliesin's poems) are unintelligibjc), 
" because fuU of Bardic, or Druidical allusions." f 

And again: " Of Taliesin's poetry, We may say, in g€r 
" neral, that his historical, pieces are valuable; his Others 
" are obscure : but, as they contain much old mythology ^ 
*' and Bardic imagery, they are worth attention, because 
" some parts may be illustrated, and made intelligible." J 

I have quoted these passages, at lengthy in order to shew 
my reader, that the author's censure is not directed against 
the pretensions of these poems to genuineness, or authenr 

* Vini,icathn of the Genuinoteis of the Ancient British Sardt, 8to. lioadon^ 
1803. fcee p. 16 to SO. 

4 Ibid. p. 14. 

J Ibjd. p. «60. 

ijclty, but merely, against that degree of obscurity which 
they must, necessarily, present to every man who has not 
studied their subjects. And Mr. Turner's declared opinion, 
that they are worth attention, as containing rnuch old my- 
thology, certainly supposes, that they are ancient and 
authentic ; I mean so far authentic, «.s to be real documents 
of British mythology. 

That a critic, so candid, and so well informed, should 
have pronounced these poems, which peculiarly treat of 
Druidism, absolutely unintelligible; and especially, as he 
acknowledges the assistance of Mr. Owen and Mr. Williams, 
men who claim an exclusive acquaintance with the whole 
system of Bardic lore, may seem rather extraordinary : but 
the wonder will cease, when we shall have seen, that the 
information of these ingenious writers is drawn from ano- 
ther source ; from a document which will appear to be, in 
many respects, irreconcilable with the works of the ancient 
Bards, or with the authority of the classical page. 

Mr. Turner's censure, as we have seen, regards only the 
obscurity of the mystical poems : but as it is possible, that 
the candid zeal of criticism may mistake obscure, for spu- 
rious, it may be proper to produce some farther' evidence 
in their favour. And here I may remark, that Mr. Turner 
was the first critic, who made a public distinction between 
the credit of the mystical, and the historical poems. The 
external evidence, in favour of both, is just the same. 
They are preserved in the same manuscripts ; and an unva- 
lied stream of national belief ascribes them, without dis- 
tinction, to the authors whose names they .bear. 

Here I might rest the cause of jhese old poems, till they 
prove their own authenticity, by internal evidence, in the 


course of my Essay ; did I not deetn it requisite, to adduce 
some testimonies of the real existence of Druidism, amongst 
the AVelsh> in the times of the native princes. These tes- 
timonies are collected from a series of Bards, who wrote 
in succession, from before the twelfth, to the middle of the 
fourteenth century. The genuineness of their works has 
never been disputed; and they, pointedly, allude to the 
mystical strains of Taliesin, and establish their credit, as 
derived from the source of Druidism. 

Mevgant, a Bard who lived in the seventh century, 
writes thus. , 

Cred i Dduw nad Derwyddon darogant 
Pan torrer Din Breon braint.* 

" Trust in God, that those are no Druids, who prophesy, 
" that the privilege of Din Breon will be violated." 

Din Breon, the Hill of Legislature,, was the sacred 
piount, where the Bards, the ancient judges of the land, 
assembled, to decide causes. The author here alludes to 
certain predictions, that the privilege of this court would be 
violated ; but, at the same time, suggests a hope, that the 
prophets were not real Druids, and, consequently,, that 
their forebodings might never be accomplished. This, 
surely, su~pposes, that Druidical predictions were known, 
in the days of Meugant, and that they were regarded as 
oracles of truth. 

• W. Arehaiol. p. 161. 

GbLYDDAN, a Bard of the same century, asserts the 
existence of Druidical prophecies, and considers the desr 
tiny of Britain, as absolutely involved in their sentence. 

Dysgogan Derwyddon maint a ddervydd : 
O Vynaw hyd Lydaw yn eu Haw a vydd : 
O Ddyved byd Ddanet huz biduvydd, &c.* 


" Druids vaticinate— a multitude shall arrive : from Me- 
nevia to Armori^a shall be in their hand: from Dernetia 
** to Thanet shall they possess." 

Such passages bear testimony to the existence of certain, 
pretended, vaticinations, which were expressly ascribed to 
the Druids ; and which the Britons, of the seventh cen- 
tury, contemplated with respect. It is also worthy of note, 
that Golyddan enrols Merddin the Caledonian in the list of 
his infallible Druids. 

Dysgogan Merddin — cyvervydd hyn ! 

•' It is Merddin who predicts — this will come to pass !" 

Let us now hear the acknowledgment of a Bard, who was 
less favourable to the Druidical strain; or who, at least, 
did not think it meet to be employed in a Christian's ad- 
dress to his Creator. 

CuHELYN wrote; according to the table of the Welsh 
Archaiology, in the latter part of the eighth century .f A 

* W. Archaiol. p. 158. 

+ I think Mr. Owen has, more accmately, ascribed this work to CvhAyn ab 
Cew, a Bard of the sixth century. ,r « . ■ 

Can. Biog. V. Cuhelyn, 

teligious ode, which bears the name of this Bard,. has the 
following passage : 

Deus Rheen rhymavy Awen- 

Amen, fiat! 

Fynedig wawd frwythlawn draethawd, 

Herwydd urdden awdyl Keridwen, 

Ogyrwen amhad, 

Amhad anaw areith awytllaw 

Y Caw ceiniad, 

Cuhelyn Bardd Gymraeg hardd 

Cyd wrthodiad 

Certh cymmwynas, Ked cyweithas, 

Ni vaintimad. 

Cathyl cyvystravvd cyvan vtflawd, 

Clutawd attad. 

" God the Creator! Inspire my genius! Amen — ^be it 
" done ! A prosperous song of praise, a. fruitful discourse, 
" may I obtain. For the venerated song of Ceridwen, tht 
" Goddess of various seeds, of various seeds of Genius, the 
" eloquence of the airy hand of the chaunler of Caw, Cu- 
" helyn, the elegant Welsh Bard would utterly reject. 
" The awful enjoyment of the society of KSd could not be 
" maintained. A song of direct course, of unnjixed praise, 
" has been offered to thee."* 

* There is another poem of Culielyrii whiQli details some curious particular 
of Bardic lore. It is introduced iu the fourth section of this Essay. 


The songs of Ceridwen~o{ the chaunters of Caii), and 
of the society of Kid, as I shall make appear, are precisely 
the mystical strains ascribed to Taliesin, and the lore of the 
British Druids. And the Bard, by making a merit of not 
imitating this kind of poetry, in his address to the Creator, 
furnishes an undeniable evidence, that such composition 
was known in his time; that it was in high esteem amongst 
his countrymen ; and that he deemed it unsuitable to the 
purity of Christian devotion. 

• Thus we find, that the mystic lore of the Druids, and 
tkose songs, which are full of their old mythology, 
were extant, and in repute, during the ages immediately 
subsequent to .the times of Aneurin, Taliesin, and Merd- 
din. Let us examine whether diey were forgotten, in the 
ages of the more recent Welsh Princes. 

The works of several Bards, who flourished in Wales 
during- the interval, from the beginning of the twelfth, to 
the close of the fourteenth century, have been well pre- 
served. They are now printed in the first volume of the 
Welsh Archaiology. 

So far was Druidism from being either forgotten or 
neglected in this period, that one of the most curious sub- 
jects of observation, which present themselves upon the 
perusal of these works, is the constant allusion to certain 
ancient and genuine remains of the Druids, which had 
descended to the times of the respective authors. The prin- 
cipals amongst the Bards of these ages, appear very Anxious 
to distinguish themselves from mere poets. They assert their 
own pretensions to ' the honour of the Druidical character, 
upon the plea of an accurate institution into the faiysteries, 
and discipline, of those ancient sages; or upon a direct 


descent from their venerated blood. The reader shall have 
an opportunity of judging for himself. 

Meilyr, a distinguished Bard, who flourished between 
the years 1120 and II60, composed an elegy upon the death 
of two princes of his country, the first line pf which runs 

Gwolychav i'm Rheen, Rex Awyr.* 

" I will address myself to my soverragn, the King of the 
« Air." 

This is an evident imitation of the first line of the Chair 
of Ceridwen — Rh'een rym Awyr-\ — " O Sovereign of the 
" power of the Air." This piece, therefore, which is one of 
the principal of Taliesin's mystical poems, was known to 
i^eilyr the Bard. 

GwALCHMAi, the son of Meilyr, wrote between the years 
^50 and II90. 

In a poem, entitled Gorhofedd, or The Boast, he thus 
imitates the Gorwynion, a poem ascribed to Llywarch Hfen^ 
upon the subject of the mystical sprigs., 

Gorwyn blaen avail, bloden vagwy, 

Balch caen eoed — 

Bryd pawb parth yd garwy. J 

* W. Archaiol. p. 192. 
+ Ibid. p. 66. 
t Ibid. p. 193. 


" The point of the apple tree, supporting blossoms, 
" proud covering of the wood, declares — Every one's desire 
" tends to the place of his affections." 

In his elegy upon the death of Madawc, Prince of 
P#^vysj the same Bard exclaims, ' 

Och Duw na dodyw 

Dydd brawd, can deiyw 

Derwyddon weini nad — 

Diwreiddiws Pywys peleidriad — rhy vel ! * 

" Would to God the day of doom were arrived, since 
" DiTiids are come, attending the outcry— TAe gleaming 
*' spears of war have eradicated Poteys" 

The Bard had heard a report of the fall of his Prince ; 
but he hoped it might be only a false rumour, till the news 
was brought by Druids. Here, then, we find the exist- 
ence of Druids, in the middle of the twelfth century, ppsi*. 
tively asserted. 

CynddElw, the great presiding Bard, and Gwalchmai's 
contemporary, has many remarkable passages, which imply 
the same fact. I shall select a few of the most obvious. 

In his panegyric upon the celebrated Prince, Owen 
Gwynedd, we find the Bardic and the Druidical character 
thus united, and our author himself placed at the head of 
the order. 

Beirnaid amregyd Beirdd am ragor : 

• W, Arcliaiol. p 202. 


Ath volant Veirddion, Dei-vvyddou ttiif 
O bedeiriaith dyvyn, o bedeir 6r. 
Ath gyvarwyre bardd bre breudor, 
Cynddelw, cynhelw yn y cynnor. 

" Bards are constituted the judges of excellence : and 
" Bards will praise thee, even Druids of the circle, of 
" four dialects, coming from the four regions. A Bardr of 
" the steep mount will celebrate tRee, efven Ct/nddelw, the 
" first object in the gate. / 

In his elegy upon the death of the same Prince, Cynd- 
delw mentions a prophecy of Gwron, whom the Triads 
represent as one of the first founders of Druidism. 

Am eurglawr mwynvawr Mon 
Nid gair gau Sv goreu Gwron. 

" Of the golden protector, the most courteous Prince of 
" Mona, no vain prophecy did Gwron deliver." 

The same Gynddelw maintained a poetic contest for the 
Bardic chair of Madawc, Prince of Powys, against another 
Bard, named Seisyll, who asserts his claim to the honour, 
in virtue of his direct descent from tiie primitive Bards, 
or Druids of Britain, a distinction which his adversary 
Qould not boast. 

Mi biau bod yn bencerdd 
O iawnllin o iawnllwyth Culvardd ; 
4kh^n Gynddelw vawr, cawr cyrdd, 
O hem ni henyw beirdd.* 

W. Arehaiol. p. 210. 


" It is my x'ig^^t to be master of song — ^being in a direct 
'• line, of ±he true tribe, a Bard of the inclosure ; but Cyn- 
f ddelw the great, the giant of song, is born of a race, 
*' which has produced np Bards." 

In his reply, Cynddelw makes light of this argument of 
his opponent, alledging that he himself was acknowledged 
to be distinguished by the discipline, the education, and 
the "spirit of a primitive Bard. 

Notwithstanding this, we find, by a poem addressed to 
the same Prince, that he was ready to allow the superior 
dignity of the Druidical line : and he speaks of this illus* 
trious order' as still in being, 

Nis gwyr namyft Duw a dewinion — byd, 
' A diwyd Derwyddion 
' O eurdorv, eurdorchogiori, 

Ein rhiv 3m rhyveirth avon.* 

*' Excepting God alone/ and the di\5iners of the land, 
*' anct sedulous Druids, of the splgndid race, wearers jo/^ 
" gold chains, there is none who knows our number, in the 
f' billows. of the stream," ■. 

These billowt, as it will appear in the third section, allude 
to their initiation into the mysteries of the Druids. 

The elegy on the death of -Cadwallawn, ^he son of 
Madawc, assimilates the character of this Prince to that 
of Menw, or Menyw, recorded in the Triads as one of the 
first instructors and legislators of the Cymry. Here we 

• W, Aichaiol. p. 213. 


Jiave ttisp a discirimination of some of the honpurs, which 
the Princesi usually conferred upon th^ ancient Bards. 

Ago red ei lys i les cerddoripn — byd: 
Eithyd i esbyd ei esborthion. 
Ym my w Meliw aqhes buches beirddion : 
Ym buchedd gwjedig gwlad orchorddion, 
, GorddyynEis uddud budd a berthion 
Gorwyddon tuthvawr tu hir gleision.* 

: ; " His hall was open for th? benefit of the singers of the 
*' land : for his guests . he made provision. Whilst Memp 
"lived, the memorials, of Baj-ds were in request : whilst he 
" lived, the sovereign of the land of heroes, it was his 
" custom to bestow benefits and honour, and fleet coursers, 
" on the wearers of long blue robes." 

In a poem addressed* to Owe^ Cyveiliawg, Prince of 
Powys, who was himself a distinguished B&rd, ' Cynddelw 
makes repeated mention of the Druids, and their cerdd 
Ogyrven, or songs of tlie Goddess ; that is, the mystical 
stiains of Taliesin. The piece opens thus. 

Dysgogan Derwyddon dewrwlad^ — y esgar, 
Y wysg^yd weiniviad : 
- ' ' "Dysgweinid cyrdd cydneid cydnad, 

• Cyd v-oliant gwr gormant gormeisiad. 

' " It is commanded by Druids of the land, which dis- 
" plays -valour to the foe — even by those administrators in 
" flowing robes'— let songs be prepared, of equal move- 

' -■>> ■■ -.- , '■ h ' 

■■"-^-— ■ — — ■ "— ' ' ' ' I.. I. ■ .-■ . . ' . ■' I . 

^~~. — I , — ™*.4^ . •--W. Archaiol. p. 220. . , .,...„., ^ , ■ 


*' raent and corresponding sound, the harmonious praise of 
" the hero, who subdues the ravager." 

, f 

In the next page, we find the Bard imitating the Dru- 

idical lore, or the mystical strains of Taliesin, and repre- 
senting his hero as having made no contemptible progress 
in the circle of transmigration. 


Mynw ehovyn colovyn eyvwjrein, 

Mur meddgyrn mechdeyrn' Mechein, 

Mwyn ©"^ydd i veirdd y vaith goelvain — raij 

Meirch mygyrvan cynghan cein. 

Yn rhith rhyn ysgwyd 

Rhag ysgwn blymnwyd 

Ar ysgwydd yn arwain 

Yn rhith Hew rhag Uyw goradain ; 

Yn rhith Uavylj anwar llachar llain ; 

Yn rhith cleddyv claer clod ysgain — yn aer 

Yh aroloedd cyngrain; 

Yn rhith; drftig rhag dragon Prydain ; 

Yn rhith blaidd blaengar vu Ywain. 

" This intrepid hero, like a rising column, like a bul- 
*' wark, round the meadhorns of the rulers of Mechain, as 
*' a gentle ovate to the bards of the ample lot, in^parts the 
" fair, lofty coursers, and the harmonious song, 

" In the form of a vibrating shield, before the rising 
" tumult, borne aloft on the shoulder of the leader — ^^in the 
" form of a lion, before the chief with the mighty wings 
*' —in the form of a terrible spear, with a ghttering 
« blade — in the form of a bright sword, spreading fame in 
" the conflict, and overwhelming the levelled ranks — ia 

" the form of a dragon, before the sovereign bf Britain 
" and in the form of a daring wolf, has Owen appeared." 

After a few more sentences, the Bard presents us with a 
curious glimpse of the mystic dance of, the Druids. 

Prud awyrdwythj'amnwytb, amniver, 
Drudion a Beirddion 
A vawl h&b draston. 


" Rapidly moving, in the course of the sky, in circles, 
" in uneven numbers, Druids and Bards unite, in cele- 
" -brating the leader." 

The passages already citpd, abundaiitly prove, not only 
that there were avowed professors, pf Druidism in North 
Wales and Powys, during the twelfth century, and that 
they regarded the. same mystical lore, which is ascribed to 
Taliesin, as the standard of their system; but^also, that 
their profession' was toljeratedj and even patronized, by the 
Princes of those, districts^ 

That the case was neariy the same in South Wales, ap- 
pears from several passages ; and particularly,, from a con.-^ 
ciliatory address to Rhys, the Prince of that countjy; ia 
which Cynddelw makes a genera] intercession for the cause, 
the mysttries, and the worship of the primitive Bards. He 
even introduces the saci'ed cauldron^ which makes a prin.-^ 
cipal figure in the mystical .strains of Taliesin. 

Corv eurdorv can dohwyv i adrev 
Ith edryd ith adrawdd i$ nSv 
Pa.r eurglawr erglyw vy marddley { 


Paiv I'rydain provwn yn nhangneV. 
'Tangnevedd am nawdd amniverwch-— riv, 

Riallu dyheiddwcb. 

Nid acjiai- llachai' Uavarwch ; 

Nid achles avles aravwch ; 

Nid achludd eurgudd Elrgelwch J 

Argel earth cerddorion wolwch. 

Dor ysgor ysgwyddeu amdrwch. 

Doeth a drud am dud am degwch ; ' 

Tarv aergawddi aergwl gadarttwch. 

*' O thou, consolidator of the comely tribe! since I am 
" returned home into thy dominioii, to celebrate thee undef 
" heaven — O thou, with the golden, protecting spear, hear 
" my Bardic petition ! In peace, let us taste the cauldron 
" of Prydain. Tranquillity j;ound the sanctuary of the 
" uneven number, with sovereign power extend ! It (the 
" Bardic sanctuary) loves not vehement loquacity; it is no 
" cherishfer of useless sloth; it opposes no precious, con- 
" cealed mysteries (Christianity): disgrace alone i.s ex- 
" eluded from Bardic worship. It is the guardian bulwark 
" of the breaker of shields. It is wise and zealous f9r 
" the defence of the country, and for decent manners; a 
" foe to hostile aggression,' but the supporter of the faint 
" in battle." 

In the elegy on the death of Rhiryd, as well as in the 
passage just cited, Cynddelw seems disposed to reconcile 
the tnystical fables and heathen rites of Druidism, with the 
profession of Christianity ; for, immediately after an invo- 
cation of the Trinity, he proceeds thus. 

Mor wyv hygleu vardd o veird Ogyrven ! 
Mor wyv gwyn gyvrwy v nidwy v gyvyrwen ! 


IVTor oedd gyvrin fyrdd cjrdd Kyrridwen : 
Mor eisiau eu dwyn yn eu dyrwen ! * 

" How strictly conformable a Bard am I, with the Bards 
« of the mystic Goddess ! How just a director, but no im- 
" peder ! How mysterious were the ways of the songs of 
« Ceridwen! How necessary to understand them in their 
" trute sense !" 

Here is a direct testimony in favour of those mystical 
songs, which deduce their origin from the cauldron of Ce- 
ridwen, and which the Bard regards as the standard of his 
own fanatical system. He professes to have understood 
them in their true sense; and that they were the genuine, 
works of Taliesin, is declared in the same poem. 

O ben Taliesin barddrin beirddring ; 
Barddair o'm cyvair ni bydd cyving. 

", From the mouth of Taliesin is the' Bardic mystery con-^ 
" cealed by the Bards ; the Bardic lore, by my direction, 
" shall be set at large." 

Pliny's account of the O'oum Anguinum is sufficientljr 
known : but it may be conjectured, from the language of 
Cynddelw, that the ungues, or, serpents, which produced, 
these eggs, were the Druids themselves. 

Tysiliaw terwyn gywrysed 

Parth a'm nawdd adrawdd adiysedd — 

Peris NSr &r niver nadredd, 

Praf wiber wibiad amrysedd."}- 

,i - I ■ I I 1 r I ■— ^», ^ 1, 1 1 . ■ 

» W. Avcbaiol. p. 230. 
+ Ibid. p. 243. 


" Tysilio, ardent In .controversy^ respecting my sane- 
" tuary, declares too much. Ner (the God of the Ocean) 
*' produced, out of the number of vipers, one huge viper, 
" with excess of windings. 

Tysilio, the son of Brochwel, Prince of Powys, in the 
seventh century, wrote an ecclesiastical history of Britain, 
which is now lost. It is probable, from this passage, that 
an explanation and exposure of Druidical mythology, con- 
stituted part of his subject; and that the story of the huge 
serpent, was one of the fables which he ascribed to them. 

These specimens may suffice to ascertain Cynddelw's opi- 
nion of the Druids, and their mystical lore. It is clear, 
this great Bard was,, in profession, half a Pagan, and so he 
was regarded. Hence, the monks of Ystrad Marchell 
sent him notice, that they could not grant him the hospi- 
tality, of their house whilst living, nor Christian burial 
when dead.* 

Llywaech ah Llywelyn, was another cathedral Bard, 
who wrote between the years II60 and 1220. He thus 
speaks of the privileges of his office, and his connection 
with the Druidical order. 

Vy nhavawd yn vrawd ar Vrythbn 
O vor Ut h^yd vor Iwerddon. 
Mi i'm deddv wyv diamryson, 
O'r priv veirdd, vy tnhrlv gyveillion.f 

"My tongue pronounces judgment upon Britons, from 

• W. Archaiol, p. 263. 

♦ Ibid. p. 283. 

c 2 


" the British channel to the Irish sea. By my institute, t 
" am an enemy to contention — of the order of the prirt}i- 
" five BardSj who have been my early companions." 

He admits the power and efficacy of the! mystical 

jDuw Dovydd dym tydd feitun Awen— her 
Tal o hair Kyrridwen.* 

" God, the Rulef, gives me a ray of melodious song, as 
" if it were from the cauldron of Ceridwen." 

And again, in his address to Llywelyn, the son of lor-^ 
%verth, he acknowledges Taliesin as the publisher of the 
mystical train. 

. Cyvatchav i*m E.h§n cyvarchvawr Awen, 
Cyvreu Kyrridwen, Rhwyv Barddoni, 
Yn dull Taliesin yn dillwng Elphin, 
Yn dyllest Barddrln Beirdd vanieri. 

" 1 will address my Lord, with the greatly greeting muse, 
" with the dowry of Kyrridwen, the Ruler of Bardisnij^ 
" in the manner of Taliesin, when he liberated Elphin, 
" when he overshaded the Baidic mystery with the banner* 
« of the Bards "t 

In the same poem, the Bard speaks of Druidical vatici- 
nations, as known in his time. 

» W. Archaiol. p. 290. 

+ Mr. Turner's Translation, 


Darogan Merddin dyvod Breyenhin 
O Gymry werin, o gamhwri : 
Bywawd Derwyddon dadeni haelon, 
O hll eryron o Eryri. 

" Merddin prophesied, that a King, should come, from 
*' the Cymry nation, out of the oppressed. Druids have 
" declared, thoit liberal ones should be born anew, from the 
" progeny of the eagles of Stiowdon." 

Such is the testimony of this venerable Bard, as to the 
genuineness of those mystical poems, which bore the name 
of Taliesin and Merddin; and in which the lore of the 
Druids was communicated to the Britons of his age. 


Eli DYE Sais, the contemporary of' Llywarch, deduces 
the melody of his linea from the mystic caiildrQ,ni which 
had been the source of inspiration to Merddin, as well as to 

Llethraid vy marddair wedi Merddin, 
Llethrid a berid o bair Awen.* 

" Flowing is my bardic lay^ after the model of Merd- 
** din: a smoothness produced from the cauldron of the 
" Awen. 

Philip Bbydydd was another Bard, who enjoyed the 
privilege of the chair of presidency, and wrote between the 
years. 1200 and 1250. This author, alluding to a dispute,, 
in which he had been engaged with certain pretended 

• W. Aichaiol, p.8SO,252.. 


Bards, or mere poets, in t'le court of iJ/tyS, Prince of South 
Wales, thus expresses his sentiments. 

Cadair Vaelgwn hir a huberid — i Veirdd ; 
Ac nid i'r goveirdd yd gy verchid : 
Ac am y gadair honno heddiw bei heiddid 
Bod se ynt herwydd gwir a braint yd ymbrovid : 
Byddynt Derwyddon pruddion Prydain ; 
' Nis gwaew yn adain nid attygid.* 

" The chair of the great Maelgwn was publicly prepared 
" for Bards; and not to poetasters was it given in com- 
" pliment: and if, at this day, they were to aspire to that 
" chair, they would be proved, by truth and privilege, to 
" be what they really are: the grave Druids of Britain 
" would be there; nor could these attain the honour, though 
" their wing should ach with fluttering." 

The chair of Maelgwn, it is known, was fiUed, by the 
mystical Taliesin; and the Bard declares, that grave 
Druids, whose prerogative it was to determine the merit of 
candidates for this chair, were still in being. In the same 
poem, he asserts the dignity of the Druidical order, and 
ridicules some popular errors respecting their scanty meanji 
of subsistence. 

Ar y lien valchwen ni vylchid — y braint 
Yd ysgarawd henaint ag ieuenctid. 

Rhwng y pren frwythlawu 

A'r tair priv fynawn, 

Nid oedd ar Irgrawn 
Yd ymborthid. 

♦ W. Arehaiol. p. 37r. 


. ■*' Of the proud white garmerit (the Druidical robe) which 
*' separated the elders from' the youth, the privilege might 
" not be infringed. Between the fruit-bearing tree, -and 
" the three primary fountains, it was not uipon green ber- 
" ries that they subsisted."^ 

The fruit-bearing 'tree was the same as the arbor frur 
gifera of Tacitus, ajid Merddin's Avallen Beren — the 
means of divining by lots, as will be seen hereafter. The 
three mystical fountains are the theme of Taliesin, in a 
poem which treats of the formation of the world. The 
Bard, therefore, implies, -that religious mystery, and the 
profession of physiology, were sources from which the 
' Druids derived a comfortable support. 

Hywel VoEi, viTOte between 1240 and 1280. In an 
bde, addressed to Owen, the son of GrufFudd, he compares 
his hero to Gwron, one of the three founders of Druidism, 
iand acknowledges him as protector of the city, or commu- 
mty of Bards. 

Uigabyl wawr, gwriawr val Gwron, 
Gwraidd blaid bliant arwyddon 
Dinam hael, o hil eryrori, 
Dinag draig dinas Cerddorian.'j- 

" Fairly dawning, manly-like Gwron, the root whence 
" sprung the pliable tokens (the mystical spugs or lots) 
'" blameless and liberal, of the xace of eagles, undoubted 
" dragon (guardian) of the city of Bards." 

• W. Archaiol. p. 393. 


We shall find, that eagles and dragons are conspicuous 
figures in Bardic mythology* 

Madawg DwYGRAiG lived at the period when the 
Welsh government 'was finally ruined, and wrote between 
the years 1290 and 1340: He thus laments the death of 
his patron, Gruffiidd ab Madawg. 

Yn nhair llys y gwys gwaisg ddygnedd, 

Nad by w llun teyrnaidd llyw, llin teyrnedd 

Balch y beirdd, bobl heirdd harddedd — hu ysgwr 

Bryn, hynavwalch gwr brenhineidd wSdd. 

Yn nhrevgoed i'n rhoeli anrhydedd — Digeirdd 

Ym, ac vhein veirdd am overedd, 

Yti gynt no'r Uuchwynt arllechwedd — Ystrad.* 

" In three halls is felt the oppression of anguish, that h« 
'' lives not, the chief of princely form, of the royal and. 
f' proud line of the Bards, a dignified race, the ornament 
" of Hu, darting on the mount, most ancient of heroes, 
" of kingly presence. In the dwelling of the wood (the 
*' sacred grove) honour was awarded to us : whilst uninsti- 
" tuted, though elegant Bards, were pursuing vanity 
" swifter thai^ ^he sudden gale, that skims over the sloping 
" shore." 

It will be seen hereafter that Hu, to whom the Bards 
were devoted in their hallowed wood, was the great deemon 
god of the British Druids. 

We are now come down to the ag^ of Edward the Firsl, 

.* W. AtctmiQl. p. 481, 


tlxe reputed assassinator of the Bards, the tale of whose 
cruelty has been hmnortalized by the pen of Grey.. 

.But here, fame has certainly calumniated the English 
King; for there is not the name of a single Bard upon 
record, who suifered, either by his hand, or by his orders. 
His real act was the removal of that patronage, under 
which the Bards had hitherto cherished the heathenish su- 
perstition of their ancestors, to the disgrace of our native 

A threefold addition to such extracts as the preceding, 
might easily be made from the writers of this period ; but, 
I trust, what is here produced, will be deemed an ample 
foundation lor the following inferences ; 

1. That the ancient supei'stition of Druidism, or, at least, 
some part of it, was considered as having been preserved in 
Wales without interruption, and cherished by the Bards, to 
the vfery last period of the Welsh Princes. 

2. That these Princes were so far from discouraging this 
?uperstitition, that, on the contrary, they honoured its pro- 
fessors with their public patronage. 

3. That the Bards who flourished under these Princes, 
especially those who enjoyed the rank of Bardd Cadair, or 
filled the chair of presidency, avowed themselves true dis-. 
ejples pf the ancient Prviids, , 

4. That they pi-ofessed to have derived their knowledge 
of Druidical lore, from the works of certain ancient and 
primitive Bards, which constituted their principal study, 
and which were regarded as genuine, and of good au- 

5. That amongst these masters, they mention, with emi- 
nent respect, the names of Tnliesin and Merddin ; and 
particularly extol that mystical lore, which was derived 
from the cauldron of Ceridwen, and published by ihe for- 
mer of those Bards. 

6. That they describe the matter contained in their sacred 
poems, as precisely the same which we still find in liie 
mystical pieces, preserved under the names of Taliesin and 
Merddin ; so that there can be no doubt as to the identity 
of those pieces. 

And, 7. That upon the subject of genuine British tradi- 
tion, they specifically refer to no writers which are no\T 
extant, as of higher authority than Taliesin and Merddin. 

I therefiare conclude, that the poems of the ancient 
Bards, here specified, however their value, as compoifltion, 
may be appreciatedy are to be ranked amongst the most 
authentic documents which the Welsh possess, upon the 
Subject of British Druidism. 

A diligent attention to the worTcs of those Bards, will 
enable us to bring forward some other ancient documents, 
which have been drawn up in a concise and singular form, 
for the purpose of assisting the memory; which are evi- 
dently derived from the sources of primitive Bardic loie. 


and therefore are undoubted repositories of genuitie British 

The documents I Inean, are those which are generally 
called the historical Triads, though many of them, strictly 
speaking, are purely mythological. 

These dociimeuts have lately been treated with much af- 
fected and unmerited contempt. 

■ It is admitted, that the notices eontaihed in some fevir 
of the Triads, appear, upon a superficial view, to be eithei: 
absurd or trifling ; and it may be inferred, from one or two 
others, that the Welsh had hot wholly relinquishied this 
mode of composition, till a short period before the dissolu- 
tion of their national governmeM. 

It is also acknowledged, that the testimony of copyists, 
as to the antiquity of the MSS. which they consulted, goes 
no higher than to the tenth century. 

But these circumstances will hardly justify some modern 
critics in the assertion, that the Triads are altogether fu- 
tile; that they are modern; that there is no proof of theiir 
cohtaining genuine Welsh tradition; and that they were 
never collected in writing before, the date of those MSS. 
which are expressly recorded. 

Hardy assertion and dogmatical judgment are soon pro- 
nounced; but the candid and consistent antiquary, ■ who 
shall refuse any degree of credit to the British Triads, will 
find many things to prove, sks well as to assert, before lip 
comes to his conclusion. 


1' know' of no peculiarity in the habits of the Celtie na- 
tions more prevalent, or which can be traced to higher anr 
tiquity, than their propensity to make ternary arrangements 
r-^to describe one thing under three distinct heads, or to 
bring tiiree distinct objects under one point of view. 

This feature presents itself in their geographical and po- 
litical schenies. The nations of Gaul were divided into> 
three great confederacies ; the Belgce, the Aquitani, and the 
proper Celia: and these were united in one body, by the 
Concilium totius Galliee, in /which we find that the members 
of each confederacy had equally their seat.* 

Again : we are told, that in omni Gallia, or throughout 
.these ^Aree confederacies, the inhabitants were distributed 
into three ranks — the Druida, t^e Equites, and the Plebes.; 
and that the priesthood was subdivided into Druids, Bards, 
and Ovates. 

The Britons, in like manner^ divided their island, into 
Lloeger, Cymru ag Alban : and wheri they were shut up in 
Wales, that district, without regard to the actual number 
of their reigning Princes, constituted three regions, called 
Gwynedd, Fywys a Deheubarth; and each of these was 
distxibuted into a number pf Cautrevs, Cwmmtvds, and 

That this humour of ternary classification pervaded tlxe- 
Druidical school, I have already shewn from ancient autho- 
rity; which presents us with the only maxims of the 
Druids, which had become public, in the "identical form of 
Welsh Triads. 

• C«3. 'd« Bell. Gal. L. I. c. SO^—L. VI. c. 3, 

The ancient Welsli laws, which were revised by Howel 
t)da in the former part of the tenth century, present us 
with a long book of Triads, and these are called Trioedd 
Cyvraith, Triades Forenses,* by way of distinction from the 
well-known Trioedd Ynys Prydain, 

Will it be said, that this national partiality to Triads had 
been forgotten for ages, and was afterwards renewed by the 
Welsh of the tenth century ? Or, if a dashing critic were 
to hazard the assertion, how is "he to support it? 

Mr. Turner has demonstrated, that the Gododin of Aneu- 
tin is a genuine composition of the sixth century. But 
so fond were the Britons of the ternary arrangement, in the 
days of Aneurin, that in one single page of that work, he 
distinctly recites the titles of ten Triads, and that merely 
in the description of an army. 

Taliesin, the contemporary of this Bard, is fuH of allu- 
ision to Triads, which had existed from remote antiquity, 
and which he cites with respect, by way of authority., 

yor example. 

1 . Tair fynawn y sydd. W. Archaiol, p. 20. 

2. Trydydd par yngnad, p. 35. 

3. Tri thri nodded. 

4. Tri charn avlawg, p. 44. 

5. Tri lloneid Prydwen, p. 45. 

6. Tri wyr nod, p. 48. 

7. Tair blynedd dihedd, p. 49. 

8. Tri dillyn diachor. 

* Wotton's Leg. Wall. L. IV. p 898. 


9. Tair llynges yn aches. 

10. Tri diwedydd ead. 

11. Tri phriawd Gwlad, p. 64. 
12- Trydedd dovn doethur. 

13. Tri chynweisad. 

14. Tri chyvarwydd, p. 65, &c. &c. 

That Triads were perfectly familiar to the age of Aneurm 
and Taliesin, is a fact which needs no farther proof : and I 
know of no reason to surmise,- that they had not beett 
committed to writing before that period. 

Some of the identical Triads, mentioned by the oldest 
Bards, are still preserved 5 others have been lost. We do 
not possess a complete collection* of these scraps of anti- 
quity. The respectable antiquary, Thomas Jones, of Tre- 
garon, informs us, that in the year I6OI, he could recover 
only 126 out of the three hundred, a definite number of 
which l^e had some particular account. The research of later 
times has not been competent to make up the deficiency, i* 

As the authority of the Triads was quoted, with eminent 
respect, by the most ancient Bards now extant, we may 
faii-ly infer, that the matter contained in them was analog 
gous to the doctrine of those Bards, and that it is the 
genuine remaiiis of more ancient Bards, 'who had professed 
the same religion. I shall make it appear, in the course 
of th6 Essay, that such was the real state of the aifair. 

* The term Collection has offended some minute critics. They ask for the 
^ook of Triads, and the name of the author. They might as well ask for th& 
Book of adages, and llie name of the aiithor. Every Triad is a whole in it-, 
self; and the ancient copyists transcribed only asjoan^ as suited their acca- 
siun, or pleased their fancy. 

t W. Archaiol. Vol. JI. p. 75. 


Out of the catalogue of Triads, I shall therefore only 
strike out about half a dozen, which refer to more recent 
facts in history, or else betray a tincture of the cloister; 
and the remainder I shall freely use, when Occasion requires, 
in conjunction with Taliesin, Ane.urm, and Merdclin, as ge^ 
liuine repositories of British tradition: and to these I shall 
sidd some mythological tales, which appear, from internal 
evidence and correspondent imagery, to have been derived 
from the same source. 

From the general persuasioi* of the Welsh, and the 
known state of literature in the country, I had formed an 
opinion, that no documents, materially differing from those 
already mentioned, could have an equal claim to authenti- 
city^ as Cambro-British tradition : and that the early Bards 
and the Triads were, in fact, the great sources of infor- 
mation upon this subject. ^ 

' Other records, however, in some respects irreconcileable, 
'with the former, have been pointed out of late years by 
Mr. Onsen, the author of the Welsh-English Dictionary, 
and Mr. Ed. Williams, author of two volumes of ingenious 

la order to estimate the value of such novel claimants as 
these records, I shall, first all, consider their pretensions, as 
Btated by those writers who have announced them to the 

Mr. Owen's edition of Llywarch H6n appeared in the 


y6at 179^- fhe introdaction contains a long account' of 
" Bardism, drawn up by the assistance of Mr. Williams, and 
from his communications. This account states, that the 
British constitution of Bardism, or Druidism, having, con- 
tinued in Wales, without interruption,- to the dissolution 
of the Cambro-British government, was, in consequence 
of that event, in danger of becoming extinct. But that 
within twenty years after the death of the la&t Llewelyn, 
certain members of the order established a chair, a kind of 
Bardiocollege, in Glamorganshire, which has continued to 
this day. A catalogue is given of the presidents and mem- 
bers of this chair, from Trahaearn Brydydd Mawr, the first 
president, or founder, in 1300, down to the present Mr. 
Ed. Williams. 

We are also told, that certain members, in the sixteenth 
century, began to collect the learning, laM's, and traditions 
of the order into books ; that these collections were revised 
and ratified in the seventeenth century ; and that they are 
Btill received as the fundamental rules of the society.* - 

From the passages to which I refer, it appears, that Mr. 

Owen derives his information from Mr. Williams; ami the 

latter from the acts, traditions, and usages of the Chafr of 

Glamorgan, as contained in their ra^/^ec? documents of the 

seventeenth century. 

It may fairly be pleaded, tliat the acts of a society of 
Bards,, which was incorporated within twenty year* after the 

* See Mr. Owen's Irrtrod. to LI. Hgn. pp. 60, 61, 62. 

Mr. Williams's Ptiems, Vol. II. p. 94. 

See also Mr. Turner's Viniicaxian, p. 226, and a circumstantial nett« 
communicated by Mr. Owen, p, %%7, &c. 


deprivation of the Welsh Princes^ the undoubted patrons 
t)f Bards and Bardism ; and which has. continued, without 
interruption, for five hundred years, must contain many cu-^; 
rious and important particulars relative to this ancient and 
national order of men-. 

But a slight inquiry into the credentials of the society 
itself, will discover some marks of gr'oss misrepresentation, 
if not of absolute forgery ; and, consequently, suggest the 
necessity of great caution in admitting its traditions. 
. ' - i ■■ , 

i. Trahaearn l^rydydd Mawr is recorded as having pre- 
sided in the year 1300;* and several of his successors, 
between that date and 1370, are also mentioned. But the 
teattied antiquary, Ed. Llwyd, gives the area of the same 
Trahaearn, An. iSSOjf and this from the Red Book of Her- 
gest, a MS. written about the cl6se of the fourteenth cen- 
tury, when the age of our Bard must have been accurately 
known. He could not, therefore, have presided in the year 
ISOO, nor be succeeded by the persons who are recorded 
as his successors ; and thus the ratified account of the esta- 
blishment of the chair, betrays a combination of fraud and 

3. But in whatever manner this chair arose, its acts re- 
cord a schism, which dissolved the union of the order, and 
occasioned the chair of Glamorgan to separate from that of 
Carmarthen, in the middle of the fifteenth century, j It 
Would therefore become a question, which party preserved 

* Owen's Introd. p. 62. 

+ Arcliseol. Brit. p. 264. 

% See Tuinei't Viodic. p. SS9, &c. and Ovre&'s Introd. p. 60. 


the genuine usages of their predecessors ; for in auch, dis- 
sentions, the right cause is always pleaded by both sides. 

3. The celebrity and respectable support of the chair of 
Glamorgan, will go but a little way in the assertion of its 
cause. Such was its obscurity, that the WeMi nation, far 
from receiving its acts as the genuine tradition of the coun- 
try, had scarcely any knowledge or tradition of th© exist- 
ence of swch a society. The few rustics by whonj the 
members were noticed in their fanatical meetings, generally 
supposed them to be irifidek, conjurors, and we knov> not 

4. It does not appear, from their own profession, nor 
from the research of Llwyd,, ajid other antiquariesj that this 
society possessed a single copy of the works of the ancient 
Bardsj previous to the eighteenth century: and they had 
not begun writing and digesting their own laws and insti- 
tutes, till more than two centuries and a half after the pre- 
tended sera of their establishment. 

The late eoHection of their acts, which was begun about 
the year 1560, and repeatedly altered, from that time to the 
year 1681, together with the avowed obscurity of the so- 
ciety in preceding times, may excite a suspicion, that in 
all instances, genuine tradition was not within their reach, 
however fair their pretensions to candour might have been ; 
for these were not of the illustriam Une of 'primitive Bardsf 
reearers of gold chains. 

And a defect, of mformation actually appears, in an in- 
stance where we sliould, least of all, have expected to find it. 

• Ed. WiUUnis' Poems, V, 11. p. 161. 


Trahaearn is brought forward as the founder of the chair, 
or the first president ; and yet the members have neither 
document nor certain tradition, by which they can identify 
the genuine composition of this father of the society. He 
is only supposed to be the same person, zeho distinguished him' 
self vnder the assumed name of Casnodyn.* 

5. But most of all, the information which Mr. Owen 
communicates, from the authority of the chair itself, ad- 
vises some suspension of confidence in the acts of this 

'* In this respect (of religion) the Bards adhered to, or 
" departed from, their original traditions, only according 
" to the evidence that might be acquired, from time to time, 
" in their search after truth." f 

And again — " The continuation of the institution did not 
" depend upon the promulgation of certain articles of faith| 
" but upon its separate principles of social compact." 

This is surely a very compliant system, totally different 
from the idea which I had formed of the primitive Bards or 
Drijids, as -Sticklers for inveterate opinions, and supersti- 
tious rites. We must not ask the chair of Glamorgan, 
what were the opinions of the Bards a thousand years ago ; 
but what opinions do they choose to adopt at present i 

A pretended search after truth leads men into the inextri- 
cable mazes of new phnosophy and new politics, as well as of 
new religions, just as they are conducted by the various 

I 'i I ' ~ 

• Owen's- Cam, -Biog. V. Trnfcoeom, 
t Intxod. to Ll. Hen. p. 28. 


iFailcies of thdr guides, or by their own ; and if a society 
swowedly departs from its original principles, to pursue one 
new path, I see no reason why it should be incapable of 
doing the same, to follow another. 

It may be wise for men to despise exploded errors, and 
addict themselves to a candid search after truth ; but if, at 
the same time that they take this salutary course, they pre- 
tend to be the sole and infullible repositories of ancient tra- 
ction, ancient opinions, anA ancient usages, they may surely 
be charged with inconsistency. 

For the reasons which I have now stated, I must take 
the liberty to search, after facts, rather than adopt, with 
implicit confidence, the dogmas of this newly-discovered 

, Mr. Williams, whether he styles hiitiself president, or 
golci surviving member, values himself highly upon his 
superior collection of Wel^h manuscripts. Whatever h« 
has, that can bear the light, I should be glad to see it 
produced to the Pubhc ; and I would cheerfully contribute 
my mite to faciUtate its appearance. But he has no copy 
»f a single British writer, more ancient, or better accre- 
dited, than, those which I adduce in the course of my in- 
quiry, and which the light, held forth from his chair, has 
certainly misrepresented. 

I therefore appeal, from his whole library, to the autho- 
rity of documents, which have been known for ages to 
exist; which are now accessible to every man who under- 
stands the language; and which, as I have already shewn^ 
have been regarded as authentically ierived from the Dru- 
idical school. 

In order to ascertain, as nearly as I can, that degree of 
■ credit which is due to the artcierit Bards, it is part of my 
plan to confront them with a few historical facts relative to 
the Driiids. 

Mr. Williams cannot object to the candour of my pro- 
; ceeding, if, occasionally, I bring the d*ogmas of his society 
to the same impartial test. The result I shall submit, with- 
out hesitation, to the judgment of the reader. 

In the first place, then, it is well, known, that amongst 
the subjects in which the Druids were conversant, the pro- 
fession of magic made a prominent figure. Dr. Bbrlase 
has a whole chapter, well supported with authorities^-" Of 
" their divinations, charms, and incantations ;" and another 
" Of the great resemblance betwixt the Druid and Persian 
" superstition." * Pliny calls the Druids, the Magi of the 
Gauls and Britons : f and of our island he says expressly — 
"■ Britannia hodie earn (sc. Magiam) attonite celebrat, tantis 
" casremouiis, ut eaan, Persis. dedisse videri possit." 

Such authorities, together with the general' voice of the 
Bards, as it reached my ear, I regarded as a sufficient jus- 
tification for having denominated ' the lots of the Druids 
magical lots. But this, it seems, has given umbrage to the 
present representative of Taliesin.. In an unprovoked at- 
'tack upon my book, he asks — " Why did Mr. Davies im- 
*' pute magic to the British Bards, or Druids'? In the many 
*' thousands of ancient poems; still extant, there is not a 
" syllable that mentions, or even alludes. to any such thing" 

* Antiq. of. Cornwall, B. II. ch. 21, 22. 
t L. 29, c. 1. 

This assertion, coming from a man who has, for viaj^ 
mars, been an adept in the- mysteries of Bardism; who pas- 
sesses and has read more Welsh MSS. than my otfwi- man in 
the principality ; and has mude the works of the Bards his 
particular study for more than ffty years, seems to bear 
hard, not only upon the propriety. -of my expression, hut 
upon the claim of the Bards themselves to the lore of the 
Druid«. ' If this assertion be correct, in vain shall tbe Barfs 
of thg twelfth and thirtemlfc centaury, ascribe to Taliesin; 
and in vain shall he acknowledge the Druidical character. 

But the precipitate use which this writer occasionally 
makes of his extensive information, emboldens me toexa* 
mine his accuracy in the present instance. 

I find it is a settled maxim with the chair of GlEEmorgail, 
that the British Bards were no conjurors. Ina note upon 
his Poems,* which were published in the yeai* 1794, the 
President having stated, upon the authority of Edmund 
Prys, that Meugant lived about the clo^e of the fourth 
century, and was preceptor to the celebrated Merlin, sub- 
joins the following information, as from himself t 

" There are still extant some poems of Meugant, as well 
" as of his disciple Merhn ; and from these, pieces, w« 
" clearly perceive that they were neither ^topkks' nor con- 
" jurors, though said to have been such, by some who w«ie 
" certainly no great conjurors themselves : they were honest 
": Welsh Bards, who recorded, in verse, ; the occunrences 
" of their own times, never troubling themselves with 
/' fjiturity," 

• V. II. p. 5. 

As to the seras of Meu^ant &nd Merlin (or Merddin), it 
toay be obsertecJ, that there are no remains of the former, 
but an elegy upon the death oi Cyf^difflati, a Prince of 
Powys, in the tixth century ; and another littJe piece, which 
Inentions Cadvan, who died about the year 630.* The only 
Merlin^ or Mej'ddin, of whom any thing is extant, was 
Merddin Wyllt, the Caledonian, who was present at tlife 
batde of Arderydd, near the dose of. the sixth century, and 
survived th^t event by many years. 

And how can these Batds be said never to have troubled 
themselves with futwrity ? The first of Meugant's poems 
opens in the high prophetic style —Dydd dyvydd — " The day 
will come ;'' and speaks of the Druids as true prophets. 
Aild, Under the name of Merddin, we have scarcely any 
thing, either genuine or spurious, but descriptions of ma' 
gical lots, tiuguries by birds^ and strings oi pretended vati- 

So 'much for the integrity of this dictatorial chair. And, 
if the recollection of the President deserted him, upOn a 
subject so notorious, may we not surmise the possibility of 
a few passages, which contain some allusion to magic, hav- 
ifflg escaped his memory. 

Before I adduce proofs of the fact here suggested, I must 
|iremise, that I do not understand the term magic, when 
applied to the Druids and their disciples, as restricted to 
the profession of necromancy, or conjuring ; but as including 
the practice of mysterious rites, under pretence of pro- 
ducing extraordinary effects, from natural causes. Such, I 

* W. Aiebaiol. p. SSi}, HOa^ 


apprehend, was the magic of Britain, which Pliily eonttem- 
platrted, with astonishment. If, therefore, it be true, that 
the ancient British Bards neither mentioned nor alliided to 
magical rites, in this or any otlier sense, it is an unanswer- 
able objection to the authenticity of their pretensions, as 
preservers of Druidjcai Ipre. BMt;this. is by no means tjie- 

In the passages which I have extracted, ftom the Bards 
of the middl; centuries, wf have had frequent mention of 
the mystical cauldron, which' was viewed as the source of 

Tiiliesin acknowledges the same cauldron as the fountain 
of his genius; and, in a mythological tale, describing the 
initiation of that Bard, we find the Goddesss Ce,ridwen pre* 
paring tli^ water of ,this sacred vage, which contained a 
decoction of potent herbs, collected with due observation 
of the planetary hovrs. So efficacJQus was this medicated 
water, that no sooner had three drops of it touched the Hps 
of the, Bardj than aH futurity was displayed to his view.* 

As I shall have occasion hereafter to introduce this cu- 
rious tale, I shall not enlarge upon it &\ present, or upon 
Taliesin's account of the various ingredients of the caul- 
dron, in the poem called his Chair, I only submit to the 
reader'ajudgnjent, that this is absolute. magicj as understood 

* W, Arefeajpl. p. ir. 

This genuine Bardic account of the pioduetian of jihe water of At^in, o» 
Inspiration, is scarcely reconoilcable with the doctrine which Mr. Owen derives 
Irom the chair of Glamorgan ; namely, tliat — " The Bardic theolpgji laws and 
,«• principles, have, in all ages, been referred to inspiration, or asserted to be 
" deri*ed/f)U>i heaven^ under thcHeuonjiuation of Aweii." 

lutfod. to H. lUn, p. 6S. 


by the aiiciehts. But lest this sliouM not come up to the 
idea which has been conceived of the mysterious art, I 
must endeavour to produce allusions to something* that looks 
more like conjuring, 

■ In the Welsh Archaiology, there is a remarkable song 
ascribed to Taliesin, which begins thus. 

Duw difer nevwy rhag Uanw lied ovrwy ! 
Cyritav attarwy atreis tros vordwy, 

Py bren a vo mwy noc ev Daronwy, 

Nid vu am noddwy, amgylch balch Nevwy, 

Yssid rin y sydd ta^rj, gwawr gwyr Goronwy, 
Odid a'i gwypwy; hudlath Vathonwy, 
Ynghoed pan dyvwy firwythau mwy Cymi-wy 
Ar laa-Gwyllionwy : Kynan a'i cafwy ' 

Piyd pan wledychwy.* 

" May the heavenly God protect us from a general over- 
" flowing ! The first surging billow has rolled beyond th« 
" sea beach. A greater tree than he, Turonwy, there has 
" not been, to afford us a sanctuary, round the', proud celes.. 
" tial circle. 

" There is a greater secret, the dawn of the men of Go- 
" ronwy, though known to few — the magic wand of Ma- 
" thonwy, which' grows in the wood, with more exuberant 
" fruit, on the bank of the river of spectres: Kynan shall 
*' obtain it at the time when he governs." 

W.Aicliaiol. Pj62. 


;,'1rhis wa^ purely caviies some allusioai to the profession 
ef magk, an art )(?lu<3|b i» op$aly ^vow^d iai the l^ajcitatioi)^ 
of Cynvelyn.* - 

But lest the accuracy of my translation should be dis- 
puted, I shall exhibit a few passages of that remarkabla 
poem, in Mf. Oweijijf owji version. ^f,- 

" Were I to compose th!0 strain— -were. I to sing — magic 
" gpdh would spring, Mlie those produced by the spcle and 
" wand of Twrcb Trwyth." 

" CynV)elyii-»-the ewricher of di^e^mimng magician, whpsff 
" spell shall be as powerfiil as tlie form of Morien — under 
" the thiglm of the generous, in equal pace sh«.ll run, die 
" sprites of the gloonit skimmihg along the pleasaat hills." 
, < ■ ' * 

, " The superiot) of iJie prize-contending songs is jthegi/ar- 
" dian spell of Cynvelyn, the beloved chief, from jwhom 
" blessmgs flow." 

" The guaidian ^pelloi Cynvdyn — oniihe plains ofCfo- 
" dodin-rr'shall it not prevail over Odiaf f 

Such are the poems, in which it has been asserted, 
" there is not a syllable that mentions magic, ox even alladf ^ 
" to any -such diing." And such is the candid translation, 
with which our ingenious lexicographer gratified the cn- 
tiotis, only two years before he published his Llywarch 
Hen, and announced the principles of the chair of Gla- 

• Vr. ArchaioF. p. 158. " 
t Goat. Msg. Nev. 17*0.» 


Thus it appears, that the Druidical profession of the 
^rds is not discreditett by an abhorrence of magic, an art 
which antiquity positively ascribes to their piedecessors, 
both in Gaul and Britain. Let the recent code make gqod 
its own assertions. 

That the Druids did use sortilege, or divination by lots, 
which seems to have been a branch of magic, is another 
historical fact, aiscertained by the testimony of Pli'ny, who 
says, that they exhibited the Vervain in the exercise of that 
superstitious rite. It may be added, tliat the use oi tallies, 
or sprigs, cut from a fruit-bearing tree, which Tacitus as- 
cribes to the Germans, was probably common to them with 
the Druids, bec&use we still find alMsions to the same sub- 
jeet in the British Bards.* 

In my late voltmie, I stated what appeared to me the 
genuine tradition of the Britons, relative to these lots^ and 
With' them I connected the letters, which are called Coel- 
breni, Omensticks, Lots, or Tallies, f 

My opinion, I thdught, was innocent at least ; but it pro- 
duced from Mr. Williams a severe philippic, together with 
an exposition of some curious Ihythology, upon the origin 
of letters and language, which is not to be found in any 
anfcieht British writer. This was put into the bands of my 
best friends : but I shall not take farther notice of manu- 
script ox oral criticism. I only wish the author to publish 
it; when I sfee it in print, thy answer shall be ready. 

• See Sect. V. 

f Celt. Bes. p. 245, &c 


I now go on to consider the character of the ancient 
Bards, as natural pliilosophers. With what success the 
Druids, their avowed preceptors, cultivated the study ©f 
natare, and what system of physiology they taught to their 
disciples, may be matter of curious inquiry, which I must 
leave to others. iBut as to the fact, that they addicted 
themselves to studies of this kind, we- have maiiy express 
testimonies in th« ancients. I select the following;. 

* " Ea divinationum ratio, ne, in barbaria quidiem gen- 
" dem gentibusneglectaest: siquidem, et in Gallia, Dru- 
" ides sunt, e quibus ipse Divitiacuni Aeduum, hospitem 
" tuum laudatoremque, cognovi : qui et natura rationem, 
<' quam physiologiam Grteci appellant, notam esse sibi pra- 
"Jitetur, et, partim auguriis, partim conjectun% qui3e essent 
♦* futura dicebat." \ 

Upon this. passage I would remark, that Cicero does ijot- 
speak from' vagiie report : he declares the profession of a 
man who was personally known to him, who had been his 
guest, and with whom he had familiarly conversed. He 
also gives unequiVocal testimony, that Divitiacus Aediius 
was a Druid, and Well versed in the various studies of hip. 

It must be recollected, that this same Prince of the 
Aedui was the intimate friend and companion of Caesar,^ 

* " This method of divinaiion lias not been neglected even amongst barbae 
" rolls nations. For there are Druids in Gaul, with one of whom I was ac- 
" quainted, namely, Divitiacus Aeduus, v»ho enjoyed the hospitality of your 
" house, and. spoke of yon with admiration. This man not only prolessed an, 
" intimate knowledge of the system of nature, whieh the Greeks call Phyiiologift 
" but also foretold future events, partly by augury, and partly by conjecture,"^ 

+ Cic. de Divinatione, L. J^ , 


and that he enjoyed the confidence of that great man, at 
the very time he drew up his valuable account of the Druids. 
It is more than barely probable, that this adcount was col- 
lected from the actual communications of Divitiacus ; for 
it is immediately subjoined to the relation of his embassy to 
the senate of Rome, and the acknowledgment of the pre- 
eminent rank of his countrymen, the Aedui. From hence 
I would infer, that Ciesar had procured :the most accurate 
information upon the subject of the Druids, and conse- 
quently, that every circumstance in his memorial has a claim 
to the highest respect. 

This competent historian,' therefore, having stated the 
tradition, that the discipline of thepe ancient priests had 
been first established in Britain ; and the fdct, that at the 
time when he wrote, those who wished to be more accu- 
rately instructed in the Druid lore, generally went into 
Britain for their education ; proceeds to specify, amongst 
the topics of their study-^* Multa prasterea— de rerum na- 
turS. — disputant — et juventuti tradunt. f. 

We have, then, abundant authority to assert, that the 
Druids aspired to the character of natural philosophers : 
and it would be reasonable to demand of the Bards, theii; 
professed disciples, some pretensions of the same kind. 

The poems of Taliesin furnish several passages, which 
may be classed under this head. Of these, the following 
cosmography may be given as a curious specimen. 

• They also dispute largely upon siibjests of natjiral phUosqphy, and inr 
struct the youth in their piinciples. 

♦ De Bell. Gall. L. VI, c. 14. 


Os yTvch brfv veirddion 
Cyrwyv celvyddon, 
Traethwch- orchuddion 
O'r Mundi maou— 

Ymae prjrv atgas, 
O gaer Satanas, 
A oresgynas 
Rh#fig'«}wvn: a bas. 
Cyvled yw ei enau^ 
A mynydd Mynnau i 
Nys gorvydd angau 
JSsi llaw oa llavnau. 
Mae llynyth naw can maen 
Tn rhawu dwy bawen : 
Un-Uygad yn ei ben 
Giwyrdd val gl&s iaen. 

Tair fynawn y sydd 

Yn ei wegorlydd ; 

Mor vryched arnaw 

A noviaat trwyddaw 

Bu laith bualawn 

Deivi" ddonwy dyvr ddawn. 

Henwau'r tair fynawn 

ganol eigiawn ; 
Un Uwydd heli 
Pan vo yn corini 

1 edryd lliant 

Dros movoedd divant. 

Yr ail yii ddinam 
A ddygwydd arnam 


Pan vo'r glaw allaa 
Drwy awyr ddylan. 
Y drydedd a ddawedd. 
Trwy wythi rnynyddedd 
Val callestig wledd 
O waith rex rexedd** 

'* If ye are primitive Bards, 

" According, to the discipline of qualified instructors, 

" Relate the great secrets 

" Of the world which we inhay t.— wkm 

" There is a formidable animal, ,,-^ 

" From the city of Satan, iJMi> 

** Which has ,made an inroad 
" Between the deep and the shallows. 
" His mouth is as wide , . 
<* As the mountain of Mynnau : 
<? Neither death can vanquish him, 

"" Nor hand, nor swords 

" There is a load of nine hundi%d rocks 
" Between his two paws : . 
** There is one eye in his head^ 
" Vivid as the blue ice. 

" Three fountains there are> 

" In his receptacles ; 

" So thick about him, 

" And flowing through him/ 

" Have been the moistening horna 

" Of Deivr Donm/, the giver of waters. 

• W. A^shaiol. p. 30. 



" The names of the three fountains, that iprifig 
" From the middle of the deep. ~f- 

" One is the increase of salt water, 
" When it mounts aloft, 
" Over the fluctuating seas, 
" To replenish the streams. 

,<'' The second is that which, innftcetttly, 

" Descends upon us, 

" When it rains without, 

« Through the boundless atmosphere* 

" The third is that which springs 
" Through the veins of the mountains, 
" As a banquet from the flinty rock, 
*' Furnished by the King of Kings." 

Though the Bard has introduced the foreign terms, Sa^t 
tanas, Mundi, and Rex, yet it is evident, that he intends 
the doctrine contained in this passage, as a select piece iof 
Druidical lore : hence he proposes the question, as a touch- 
stone, to prove the qualifications, of those who professed 
themselves instructors in primitive Bardism. 

The Druids, therefore, represented the visible world. Hot 
as formed by the word of a wise and beneficent Creator, 
but as an enormous animal, ascending out of the abyss, 
and from the abode of an evil principle. The same subject 
is touched upon in another passage, where we discover, that 
the British name of this evil principle was Gwarthawn„ 

Yssid teir fynawn 
Ym mynydd Fuawn : 


Yssid Gaer Gwaithavvn 
A dan don eigiawn,* 

" There are three fountains 

" In the mountain of Fuawn : 

" The city of Gwarthawn 

" Is beneath the wave of the deep." 

t might have compared anothelr passage with the above, 
had it not been for the want of curiosity in the transcribers 
of our old manuscripts. Mr. Morris has consigned great 
part of an ancient poem to oblivion, because " it contained 
" an odd sort of philosophy, about the origin of salt water, 
" rain, and springs." f 

The absurd and monstrous idea of the formation of the 
world, which we have been now considering, is certainly 
from the very lowest school of heathenismi It is utterly 
irreconcilable with Mr. Williams's new British Mi/thology, 
and with his story of Enigat the Great; though not much 
dissimilar to the genuine doctrine of his chair, exhibited at 
the conclusion of his poetical works. 

The reader may not be displeased with a few more Ques- 
tiones Druidica, as proposed by the same Tahesin. The 
Bard has not, indeed, added the solutions of his problems, 
but they may serve to point out the subjects of his study, 
and his ambition to be esteemed a general physiologist. 

In a poem, which is called. Mab^vreu, or Elements of 
Instruction, he demands of his disciple — , 


<*»« — II I ■ I ■ ■ 

• W. Aichaicvl, p, 32. 
+ Ibid. p. 47. 


Py dadwrith mwg ;, 
Pyd echenis mwg I 

" What is it which decomposes smoke ; 

*' And from what ekment does smoke arise ^ 

Py fynawn a ddiwg, 

Uch argel tywyllwg. 

Pan y w calav can ' 

'Pan yw n6s lloergai?? 

" What fountain is that, which bnrsts forth, 

" Over the covert of darkness/ 

" When the reed is white, 

" And the night is illuminated by the moon ?' 

A wyddosti beth wyd 
Pan vyth yn cysgwyd : 
Ai corph ai enaid, 
Ai argel cannwyd ?] 

" Knowest thou what thoxi arty 
" In the hour of sleep — 
" A mere body — a mere sbul — 
" Or a secret retreat of hght ?" 

Eilewydd celvydd, 
Py'r na'm dyweid ? ■ 
A wyddosti cwdd vydd 
Nos yn aros dydd ? 
A wyddpsti arwydd 
Pet deilen y sydd ? 

Vj. drychevis mynydd 

Cyn rhewioiaw elvydd ? 


1*7 gynneil magwyif 
Daear yn bieswyl. 
Enaid pwy gwynawr 
Pwy gwelas ev — Pwy gwyr ? 

*' O skilful son of harmony, 

" Why wilt thou not aiiswer me ? 

" Knowest thou where the night awaits 

" For the passing of the day ? 

" Knowest thou the token (mark or character)- 

" Of every leaf which grows ? 

" What is it which heaves up the mountain 

" Before the convulsion of elements ? 

" Or what supports the fabric 

" Of the habitable earth ? 

" Who is the illuminator of the soul— 

" Who has seen— who knows him \" 

The following seems to be a reflection upon the teachers 
of another system* ^ 

Rhyveddav yn llyvfau 
Na wyddant yn ddiau 
Enaid pwy ei hadnau ; 
Pwy bryd ei haelodau : 
Py barth pan ddinau ; 
Py wynt a py frau. 

" I marvel that, in their books, 

" They know not, with certainty, 

" What are the properties of the soul : 

*' Of what form are its mfembers : 

" In what part, and when, it takes up its abode; 

" By what wind, or what stream it is supplied." 
£ 2 


In the Angar Cyvyndawdf of which I^ have inserted the 
beginning in the Celtic Researches, we haVe several ques- 
tions of the same kind proposed j as^ 

" At what time, and td what extent, will land he pro- 
" ductive ?' — " What is the extent and diameter- of the 
" earth?" — ^Who is the Regulator, hetween heaven and 
" earth?" — " What byngs forth the clear gem (glain) 
" from the working of stones ?" — " Where do the cuckoos, 
" which visit us in the summer, retire during the winter ?" 

" From the deep I bring forth the strain' — let a river be 
" specified — I know its qitalities when it ebbs or flows, 
" swells or subsides." 

" I know what foundations there are beneath the sea : I 
" mark their counterparts, each in its slopirtg plane." — > 

" Who carried the measuring line of the Lord of causes 
" — what scale was used, when the heavens wa.e reared 
" aloft ; and who supported the curtain, from the earth to 
" the skies ?*' 

Of these, and a multitude of similar questions, Taliesin 
professes, that he could teach the true solution. In his 
own opinion, therefore, he was as great a physiologist as 
Divitiacus Aedmts, or any other Druid of the hallowed 


"Amongst the studies of the Druids, Caesar enumerates 
astronomy and geography ; but the remaining works of the 
Bards scarcely afford us an opportunity of judging, as to 
their proficiency in these sciences. 

If the poem called Canu y byd mawr, " The great song 
" of the world," contains any thing of Druidism, we must 
acknowledge at least, that it is mixed with a large propor- 
tion of foreign msitter. 

The subject is 77ian and the universe. — ^The soul is said to 
be seated in ,the head of man, who is composed of seven 
elements. Fire, Earth, Water, Air, Vapour, Blossom (the 
fructifying principle), and the wind of purposes (q, whether 
the soul or the passions'?) He is endowed with seven senses, 
appetite and aversion being admitted into the number, — 
Hence, perhaps, the vulgar phrase, of . being frightened 
out of one's seven senses. There are seven skies or spheres 
over the head of the diviner, 

There are three divisions of the sea, answering to the 
like number of shores. 

Thus far, for aught I know, the Bard may have drawn 
from the source of Druidism s but he proceeds to reckon 
up the seven planets, by names which are borrowed or cor- 
rupted from the Latin — Sola, Luna, Marca, Marcarucia^ 
Venus, Severus, Saturnus, 

Of the^t;e zones of the earth, two are cold, one is hot 
»nd uniivhabited, the fourth contains the inhabitants of pam 


radtse, and the fifth is the dwelling-place of mortals, divided 
into three parts, Asia, Jfrica, and Europe.* 

In the little song of the riiorld, the Bard brings foni^ard a 
national system, differing from that which was t^rUght by 
tlie Bards of the world, or the instructors of other nations- 
This little piece d^eryes attention. It is not mythological, 
but philosophical, and seems, in some respects, to corre-? 
spond with the systenj of Pythagoras, who had many ideas 
jn common *ith the Druids, and is expressly vecpjrded to 
bavp studied in the Gaulish school, 

Kein geneis canav 
Byd undydd mwyav ; 
Lliaws a bwyllav 
Ac a brydej-av, 
Cyvarchav veirdd byd— ^ 
Pryd na'm dy weid ! 
Py gynheil y byd 
Na seirth yn eissywyd : 
Neu'r byd pei syrthiej 
Py S,r yd gwyddei ? 
Pwy a'i gogynhaliei ? 
Byd mor y w advant I 
Pan syrth yn divant 
Etwa yn geugant, 
Byd mor yw rhyved4 
Na syrth yn unwedd, 
Byd mor yw odid 
Mof yawr yd sethrjd, 

'♦ Though I have sung already, I will sing of the yrtaild 

t - -II I — ■ ■ . ; 

• W, Arphaiol. p. 25. 


*' one day more : much will I reason and meditate. I will 
" demand of the Bards of the world—why will they not 
" answei- me! What upholds the world, falls not, 
*' destitute of support : or, if it were to fall, which way 
" would it go ? AVho would sustain it ? How great a wan- 
" derer is the world ! Whilst it glides on, without resting, 
" it is still within its hollow orbit. How wonderful , its 
• " frame, that it does not fall off in one direction ! How 
" strange, that it is not disturbed by the multitude of 
" tramplings!" ^ 

Some idle Rhymer has added to the conclusion, that the 
four evangelists support the world, through the grace of the 
spirit: but Giraldus Cambrensis complains, that in his age 
the simple works of the Bards had been disfigured by such 
modern and ill-placed flourishes. 

1 have now endeavoured to catch a glimpse of our early 
Bards as natural philosophers, and have shewn, that they 
were not less ambitious of the character, than their vene- 
rated preceptors, the Druids, are recorded to have been. 

Hence I proceed to contemplate the same Bards, and 
their instructors, in. a political light. Through this maze 
of inquiry, the chair of Glamofgan kindly offers its torch 
of direction. One of the leading maxims of its Druidical 
code, as announced to the PuWip, is ^ political principle, 
frequently touched upon, both by Mr. Williams and Mr. 
Owen, but more fully detailed by the latter. 

♦' Superiority of individual power is what none, but 


" God, can pdssibly be entitled to ; for the poiver that" gave 
" existence to all, is the on^jf power that has a claim of 
" right to rule over all. A man cannot assume authority 
" over another ; for if he may over one, by the same rea- 
" son he may rule over a million, or over a world. All men 
" are necessarily*«qual : the four elements, in their natural 
" state, 01- every thing nOt njaijufactured by art, is the 
" common property of all." * 

The merit of the doctrine which is here held forth, it is 
not my province duly to appreciate. I have nothing to do 
with it, any farther than as it purports to be a principle 
drawn from the source of -Druidism, through the channel 
of the British Bards, 

At the time when this book first appeared, I was not 
absolutely a novice in the remaining accounts of the Druids, 
or in the works of the British Bards ; yet I must own, that 
all this was perfectly new to me. I am now, upon farther 
acquaintance with the works of our Cambrian progenitors, 
fully convinced, tha( they never taught any such thing, 

"^i^ I would therefore advise the partizans of the oracular 
chair, jto reconsider this code of Jaws, a;nd search, whether 
this doctrine is to be found in the first copy, which was 
compiled in the sixteenth century, or only in that copy, which 
was revised, rectified, and ratified during the great rebellion 
in the middle of the seventeenth. And if it be found only 
in the latter, I would ask, was not Druidism, as far as this 
goes, very popular amongst Briton's and Saxons In the age 
of Cromwell ? — Perhaps I wrong that age. 

* Jqtrod. to LI. Heo. p. 54. 


The principles here announced, seem to go rather beyond 
the levellers of the Tseventeenth century, and to savour 
strongly of a Druidism which originated in Gaul, and was 
from thence transplanted into some corners of Britain, not 
many ages before the year 1792, when the memorial of 
JBardism made its appearance. It were well, if the sages 
who prepared that memorial, would revise their extracts, 
and recal any accidental inaccuracy, that might otherwise 
mislead future antiquaries. They must know, as well as I 
do, that this is not the Druidism of history, nor of the British 

Let us hear Caesar's testimony. The Druids of Gaul, 
with whom* he was intimately acquainted, were supreme 
Judges in all causes, public and private. Every thing bent 
to, their decree. The sacred order, therefore, possessed a 
pre-eminence of authority over the people, whom they did' 
not acknowledge as their necessary equals. Nor were the 
Druids upon a level amongst themselves ; for we are farther 
told — * " His omnibus Druidibus preeest unus, qui summann 
*' inter eos habet auctoritateni." ' 

Nor did they deem it unlawful for even temporal princes 
to enjoy pre-eminence of power. Divitiacus, an accredited 
Druid, complains of the ingratitude of his brother, Dum- 
norix, who had been advanced to great authority by the 
exertion of his influence. ^ 

But as the Druids and the princes were generally rela- 
tions, it may be argued, that they connived at a trifling 
dereliction of principle in their own families, and contented 

* " Over all these Druids, there is one president, who enjoys supreme avi* 
^.»' thoritj amoiigst tlisin." 


themselves with moulding the people into a state of perfect 
equality : which they might have done, had they been so 
disposed ; as the whole community of the nation was formed 
under their control. 

Here, then, if any where, we may expect to discover 
the operation of the great levelling scheme. But here we 
are farther from the point than ever.-^*/* Plebes poene 
" servorum habetur loco^ quc5, per se, nihil audet, et nullb 
" adhibetur concilio. Plerique cum, aut sere alieno, aut 
" magnitudine' tributorum, aut injuriS. potentium premnn- 
" tur, sese in servitutem dicant nobilibus. In hos eadem 
" omnia sunt jura, quae dominis in servos." f 

When the Romans came into Britain, where Druidisra. 
had also an establishment, they found the insular tribes 
subject to their respective princes, who had authority, riot 
only to govern during their lives, but also to bequeatli their 

It is therefore evident, that individual authority and pri- 
vate property were countenanced under the auspices of 
Druidism. But was this the case in the times of those 
Bards, who still exist in 4heir works, and to whom the 
levelling system has been imputed? Let us ask Taliesin, 
" whose poems (according to Mr. Williams) exhibit a com- 
" plete system of Druidism." J 

* "The common people are regarded as nearly upoTi a level with slaves. 
" They have uo power of their own, and are never admitted into the assemblies 
" of the states. Many of these) when oppressed by debt, by the weight of 
" taxes, or by the injury of the great, devote themselves to the service of the 
" nobles, who have, in all respects, the same power over them, which masters 
*' have over iheir slaves." 

t De Bell. Gall. L. VI. c. 13, 

} Pflems, V. II. p. 7. 


This venerable Bard thus sppaks of the Prince of 

" There is superior happiness for the illustrious in fame ; 
" for the liberal in praise — there is superior glory, that 
" Urien and his children exist, and that he reigns mpremef 
" the sovereign Lord." f 

Butwhy should I select quotations? Who, amongst the 
ancient Bards, was not patronized by princes, whom he 
has celebrated, not less for the grea,tness of their power, 
than for the eminence of their virtues ? If either historical 
authority, or the testimony of the Bards> can have any 
weight in deciding this question, this cUrjous dogma of the 
pretended chair has nothing at all to do with Druidism or 
JBardism. That it is not even countenanced by the ancient 
Bards, must be known to every man who is conversant in 
their works. 

It therefore rests with the advocates of this chair, to 
inform us, whether it was introduced into their code by the 
levellers of the seventeenth century, or fabricated during 
the late anarchy of France, as a new engine, fit for imme- 
diate execution, 

I am far from professing myself the general advocate of 
the Bards, or the Druids 5 I only wish to exhibit them in 
their true colours ; but I find it impossible to write upon 
this subject, without vindicating their character from an 
imputation, as groundless as it is infanfous. 

• W. Archaiol: p, 31. 

•i Mr. Turner's Translation. Vindic. p. ISr. 



- Another particular in the! traditions of the dictatorial 
chair, which does not perfectly correspond with the testi- 
mony of the ancients relative to the Druids, or with the 
sentiments and practice of the Bards, is that invisolable 
attachment to peace, which is ascribed to the whole order. ' 

" It is necessary to remark (says Mr. Owen), that Lly- 
" warch was not a member of the regular arder of Bards, 
" for the whole tenor of his life militated againsi the lead- 
" ing maxims of that system; the groundwork :of which 
" was, universal peace, and perfect equality. For a Bard 
" was not to bear arms, nor even to espouse a cause by any 
" other active means; neither was a naked weapon to be 
" held in his presence ; he being deemed the sacred cha- 
" racter of a herald of peace. And in any of thes6 cases, 
" where the rules were transgressed, whether by. his own 
♦' will, 6x by the act of another, against him, he was de- 
" graded, and no longer deemed one of the order." * 

Here again I suspect, that the president of the chair has 
not been quite accurate in his notes. I do not recollect to 
have seen this doctrine, in its full extent, promulgated by 
any code, before a certain period of the 'French Revolu- 
tion, when the meek republicans of Gaul, and their modest 
partizans in Other countries, joined" the indefeasible right 
<f equality with the inviolable duty of peace, and impressed 
them upon the orderly subjects of fevery state; whilst 
they themselves were preparing for every species of in- 
jury to civil society. But whenoesoever this fallacious prin- 
ciple took its rise, it certainly did not belong to the Druids, 
or to the Bards, without great limitation. 

• Intrpd. to LI. Hpn. p. 18. See sho p. 25. 


That the former were friends of peace, arid seldom fin* 
gaged in war, is a point which must be admitted. But 
there were occasions, upon which even the Druids deemed 
War lawful, and encouraged their disciples to contemn 
death, and act braVely in the field* Caesar observes, th^ 
an immunity from military service, was amongst the privi-* 
leges of the Druids ; ?ind that it was their general custom 
to keep aloof from the field of battle. But was this custom 
grafted upon an inviolable principle ? Let us hear. Having 
mentioned the supreme authority of the Arch-Druid, the 
historian adds this information. * " Hoc mortuo, si qui ex 
" reliquis excellit dignitate, succedit. At si sint plures 
" pares, suffi-agio Druidum adiegitur : honnunquam etiiam 
" armis de principdtu contendutit." 

In these cases, what becomes of their perfect equality ? 
and, in the latter case, ofr their unconquerable abhorrence 
of war? Was the whole body of Druids degraded, in con- 
sequence of having espoused a cause, and that by the sen- 
tence of the president, who owed his elevation to the 
number and ztal of his party, and to the length of his 
sword ? 

If we turn our attention to the British order, we shall 
find them in the same predicament with their brethren in 
Gaul. The Druids, who opposed Suetonius on the shores 
of Mona, and terrified his soldiers with their direful im- 
precations, not only endured the sight of naked weapons, 
but vigorously espoused a cause; and it was the same 
cause for which, as we are told, the venerable Llywarch is 

* " Upon his death, if any one of the survivors excels the rest in dignity, he 
" succeeds ; but if several Iiave equal pretensions, the president is chosen by 
". the votes of the Druids. Sometimes, however, the supreme dignity is d-is* 
" putcd by force of armi/' 


to be degraded j namely, the defence of the country againsf 
Jhreign invaderst, 

When we descend to those British Bards, who professed 
themselves disciples of the Druids, we find a caveat entetdd 
against the aged prince above nstmed. He, is not to be 
acknowledged bj the order, because he maide a noble stand 
in defence of his patrimony- But what are we to do with 
Merddin and Aneurirl? The former fought manfully in the 
battle of Arderydd, and the latter saw a multitude of Mood" 
stained weapons in the fatal day of Cattraeth^ 

Even Taliesin, with his " Complete System of Druidism," 
Was a decided partizan in the cause of the gallant Urien* 
He celebrated his victories, and encouraged his military 
ardour. So far was he from abhorring the sight of a naked 
sword, when he considered it asjnsth/ drawn, that he could 
deliberately contemplate, and minutely record, the circum-^ 
stances of the destftictive conflict* 

Of this, I shall produce a pretty convinciiig proof in Mr. 
Owen's own translation, with which he favoured the public 
only two years before the appearance of his Llywarch H6n. 

" I saw the fierce contending tumult; where wild de- 
" struction raged, and swift flowing streams of blood ran^ 
♦' amidst the half surviving ranks — I saw men, whose path 
" was desolation, with their garments entangled with clot- 
" ted gore: quick and furious were their thrusts in the 
" long maintained conflict; the rear of the battle had. no 
" room to fly, when the chief of Keged urged op the pur- 
" suit.^-I am astonished at his daringness," &c. 

And with what sentiment does the Bard conclude his 


song, after having witnessed this- dreadful spectacle? He 
recommends the pursuit of military glory, even to a lady, 
and declares his resolution to praise the magnanimous 
Urien. ^ 

" Mayst thou pant for conflict, O Euronwy ! And till t 
" fail with age, and through cruel fate must die; may I not 
" smile with joy, if I sing not the praise of Urien J" * 

If Cynvelyn's Incantation does not rather belong to 
Aneurin> the same Bard justifies the destruction of the foe; 
nor does he think hia hand polluted, either with the cup or 
the speai-, that carries the mark of slaughter, 

" Fury, in a torrent, shall flow against the Angles.— 
" Slaughter is just! The raven's due is our heaps of slain! 
" Before the man who is naturally endowed with song, - 
" light unfolds the mystery — and; hearing woe> he shall 
" return, his glittering yellow cup, besmeared with gore, 
" hiding the froth of the yellow mead. Satiated with en- 
" terprise, his heavy spear, with gold adorned, he^ bestowed 
" on me. Be it for a benefit to his soul !" f 

Such is the genuine language of the Bards ; and, agi-ee- 
able to this language, is the decision of the learned and 
candid historian, who has done us the honour of vindicating 
their cause, 

" These Bards were warriors. Their songs commemo- 

• Taliesin's Battle of (rwen^strad. Gent. Mag. Mareb, 1790, 
t Gent. Mag. Nov. 1795. Mr, Owen's translationi 


" rate warriors; and their feelings and sentiments are whefly 
" martial."* 

But is it true, that an abhorrence of weapons, and an 
inviolate attachment to peace, were established principles, 
even in the chair of Glamorgan ? There are circumstances 
which seem to imply the contrary. 

According to Mr. Owen's list, David ab Gwil3rm pre- 
sided in the year 1360. f In a foolish quarrel with Gruf- 
fudd Gr^g, this Bard challenges his adversary to decide 
their dispute with the sword. Gruffiidd accepts the chal- 
lenge, and bids him defiance. Then, indeed, but not tiU 
then, the worthy president manifests a disposition for 
peace. J 

If the Bards, according to the code of £his chair, were 
never to espouse even a just cause, what becomes of the 
" Necessary, but reluctant duty of the Bards of the island 
" of Britain, to unsheath the sword against the lawless and 
" depredatory ?"§ 

-Or how can the chair reconcile this inviolate principle, 
with its own practice, of bringing the assault of warfare 
against a degraded member, unsheathing the sword, calling to 
him three times, and proclaiming, that the sirord was naked 

• Mr. Turner's Vindic. p. SOT. 

t latrod. to LI. H6n. p. 62, 

I See D. ab Gwilym'a Worksi p. 344, &c. 

§ This duty is acknowledged by the imtitutimal Triads of that very cbait. — 
WiHiams's Poems, V, II, p, 838. 


against him? * — Surely this manifests a disposition as hdS- 
tile> as can well be tolerated by the present laws of society. 

The few observations upon the novel maxims, and die* 
tatorial tone, of the chair of Glamorgan, which the prin- 
ciple of self-defence have extorted from me, may supply a 
useful hint to future inquirers into Welsh Antiquities. It is 
not, however, my aim, to pass a general censure upon the 
traditions of that society. I am willing to suppose, that 
thdy would reflect light upon many subjects which are now 
obscure, were they brought forward, unmixed with modern 

That the particulars here selected, have neither support 
nor countenance amongst the ancient Bards, or their pre- 
ceptors, the Druids, I have already shewn. It remains for 
me to inquire, whether they correspond with the personal 
character and sentiments of Trahaearn Brydydd Mawr, who 
is announced as the first president ; and consequently, whe- 
ther it is probable, that he established a society upon such, 

Under the name of this bold and turbulent genius, we 
have only two pieces preserved : but they are highly cha- 
racteristical, and furnish us with some important anecdotes. 

Trahaearn appears to have been a free guest in the man- 
sion of Howel of Llan Dingad, in the Vale of Towy, about 

— "-r 

* Inttod. to LI. Hto. p. 51. 

a hundred j'ears after Wales had finally submitted to th« 
English government. Howel's peace establishment, as de- 
$cribed by the muse of his Bard, was much in the style of 
Sir Patrick Rackrent; and, in his heroical capacity, he 
made some local efforts to assert the independence of his 
country, in an age when such patriotism could be no longer 
a virtue. 

This gentleman's Bard made a Christmas visit to Cadwgan, 
vicar of i/aw Gynog, where, it seems, he met with a 
scanty and very homely entertainment. His resentment 
dictated a furious lampoon upon the vicar, his daughter and 
his son-in-law ; in which he declared, that " if the house 
" were burnt upon the eve of the new year, it would be a 
" good riddance ; and any shabby wretch might perform a 
" meritorious act, by killing the alien son-in-law with the 
" sword." 

Snch an outrage might have been treated with merited 
contempt, had not the vicar's house been actually burnt, 
and his son-in-law killed upon that very new-year's eve. 

This, I presume, was the notorious circumstance which 
marked the lera of our Bard in the year 1380, Whether 
Trahaearn himself was, or was not, personally engaged in 
this atrocious act, does not appear : but his efforts to clear 
himself in the subsequent poem, prove, at least, the exist- 
ence of suspicion* 

In just abhorrence of his conduct, the incendiary and 
assassin was disowned by the family of Llan Dingad, an^ 
became a necessitous wandterer for a long period. During 
this season of disgrace, if ever, he presided in the chair of 

Iti the following poeitij We find him labouriilg to effect 
a recc>nciliation with the grcendsoris of his patron ; but with 
what success, is unknown at present. The reader will par- 
don my giving a translation of the whole piec6, as it con- 
stitutes no unfavdurable specimen of the Bardism of the 
fourteenth century. 

Sung, by Trahuearri the grekt poet, in ptaise of Howeil 
of Llan Biflgad, in the Vale of Towy, 1350.* 

A dauntless leader in the conflict, the vSty energy of 
heroism, was the valiant Howel ;' eminently severe in the 
Work of violence ; proud , and bright as a dragon, directing 
the death of the foe : arid this dragon, I know, will be 
illustrious in the memorials of his country. 

A dismal Cattlage was seen amongst the people, wheii the 
daring hawk gave battle. In equal pace rushed the cata-i 
racts of blood, and the incessant spears, during the shocks 
Woe's my heart, that I remained silent for a single night ! 

Wider and Wilder did the groans of nature extend, wheit 

* W. Archaioi. p. 499. The editors have prohahly inserted 1350, by way 
of accpmmodatiott with tire chronology of the cftair. The only copy to which 
they refer, as their original, has the date 1380, lyhich came ftom the authority 
of Dr. pavies of Mallwyd, andis the same vrtiich is given by Ed. Llwyd, in 
his Archceologia. 

f The places mentioned in this poem, are iti the neighbourhood of' Ltando- 
very, iioradircgad is the parish. in Which that town is situated: The manor of 
ifirOTj/n comprehends part of that parish. Gaew, or CynvU Gaio, is at the dis* 
tance of about ten miles, on the Ltanbedr road ; and Myddvai, which joins the 
parish of Uanditigad, was famous for its succession of pllysiciansj in the f^ily 
of Hhiwallawn, from the 13th to the 18th century. 


the vessel of racking poison poured the pangs of destiny;^* 
whilst he was encouraging his host to protect the vale of 
Towy, a place which is now desolate, without a chief. To 
be silent henceforth, is not the act of manhood. 

For the Lion, of shivered spears ; for the shield of bra- 
very, there is now crying and lamentation, because our 
hope is removed — the chief with the huge clarions, whose 
whelming course was like the raging sea. The afflicted 
host of Lloegr f did he consume in his descent, Jike the 
tumultuous flame in the mountain heath. J 


Though fierce in his valour, like Lleon, with a violent, 
irresistible assault, he vaulted into battle, to plunder the 
King of Bernicia;§ yet the hero of the race of Twedor, 
the ravager of thrice seven dominions, was a placid and 
liberal-handed chief, when he entertained the Bards at his 
magnificent table. 


With the rage of Ocean, he raised aloft the> shield of 
the three provinces. His hand was upon the sword, spotted 
with crimson, and the scabbard adorned with gold. Then 
had the severe Lion uninterrupted success, in the deadly 
battle of Caew : the area was filled with terror, and the 

* It appears hy this passage, that poisoa had been administered to the trat- 
rior, just as he was going to battle. 

+ England. 

i It is the custom in many parts of Wales, to bum the heath» upon the 
mountains, in order to clear the turf, which is paiied off, for fuel. 

§ Some nobleman, who took his title from a place in the North, oi withia tlie 
£mits of ancient Bemicia. 


buildings reduced to ashes, as with the wrath of Lhjr Lh' 
diaith, and the conduct of Cat.* 

But the drugs of Myddvai caused the mead banquets to 
cease within those gates, where energy was cherished by 
the assiduous friend of Genius, the ruler of battle, the 
benefactor of strangers, in his ever-open hall — so that now 
he lives no more— the leader of spearmen, of illustrious 
race, the arbiter of all the South. 

A thousand strains of praise are preparing, as a viaticum, 
for this gem of heroes, this mighty eagle, by my golden 
muse : a prudent, a fortunate, an irresistible chief was he, 
in the tumults of his principality : his spear dispossessed 
the aliens ; for he was the foe of slavery. ' 


To him be awarded, by the righteous Judge, the patri- 
mony of paradise, in the land of the blessed— a portion 
which has been prepared (and the only portion which vio- 
lence cannot remove) by the favour of him, who presides 
over the pure, and the perfect in faith • 

And may the God who beholds secrets, the supreme 
supporter of princes, and the all-knowing Son of Mary, 
cause, by his pure, good; will, by the visible and speedy 
endowment of his sincere favour, that Howel's chief Bard, 
after his being long disowned, 

* Herges «f ancient fable, who vill be mentioned again in the course of this 




May remain with his generous grandsons, the objects of 
the wanderer's vows ! Though dreadful in battle, was the 
blade of Einion the judge ? yet was he a goldeji president 
in his district, an entertainer of the Muses, ija the great 
sanctuary of the children pf panegyric — the supporter of 

I will not dissemble. As it is my privilege to judge, I 
will declare my sentiment, that no wayward lampoon shall 
sport with the great renown of the hero ; and, that I shall 
not be found in the company, or in thefoiin of an outlaw, or 
mthout a pledge of inviolable faith towards the clergy. 


I am blameless, and entitled to the peace of the plough, 
the general and free boon of the warrior, according to the 
established and sincere decree of the great, unerring Fa-i 
ther, the love-difFusing Lord, the supreme dispenser of 

I will relate (and the tribute of love will I send forth) a 
golden tale, a canon of the natural deliiieation of the muse 
for my tribe : and this with joy wiU I do; to prevent the 
colouring of falsehood, till the spring ef my genius be 
gone^ with the messenger that calls me hence. 


For want of the discretion to compose good words, I 
have Ipst the incessant invitation to the cauldrons, and the 
IRwnificent banquets pf the laad of elpquenpe, and genefous 


horns of delicious liquor, amongst the mighty pillaris of 
battle, whose hands brandish the glittering sword. 

Wretched is he, whose lot it has been to lose the mead 
and the wine, that flow to the frequenters of those halls j 
which are liberal to every claimant ; and the frank invita- 
tions, and the presents) of those Dragon chiefs, who pour 
forth thy precious showers, O vale of Towy ! 

Every night is my grief renewed with the thought, that 
by the violence of one rash transgression, I have forfeited the 
valuable prvDilege, and lost the protecting power of the sup- 
porter of the splendid host, the hero, of the seed of Mer-^ 
vin. — Of his sparkling wine, and his scarlet, I partake no 
more ! 

Yet still, with due and lasting praise, shall be celebrated 
the munificent shower of the hawks of Hirvrytiy the last 
of that, warlike race, which derives its blood from the line 
of the slaughterer ; and my eagle, the leader of the em- 
battled spearmen, of the district of Dingad. 

He who peruses this poem, must be immediatelj' con- 
vinced, that the feehngs and sentiments of Trahaearn are 
utterly irreconcileable with the principles, which he is re- 
presented as having taught. The Bard is neither shocked 
at the exertion of military spirit, nor backward in espousing 
the canse of his coiihtry and his patron, as well as of his 
own appetite. And here is not a syllable that countenances 
the doctrine of perfect equality i 

As I shall have occasion to mention the noctv.rnal mysf' 
teries of the Bards, I must just take notice of another 
dogma of the boasted chair, which asserts,, that the Bards 
did every thing in the eye of the light, and in the face of the 
sun ; and, that none qf their meetings could be holden, but 
in a conspicuous placBj whilst the sun was above the horizon.* 

As this unqualified publicity is referred to the principles 
and practice of the Pruids, it must stagger the confidence 
of those who have been accustomed to contemplate the 
awfiil secrets of the grove, and. the veil of mystery which 
was thrown over the whole institution. 

The annual, or quarterly sessions of the Druids, where 
they sat, f zw loco consecrata, to hear and decide causes, 
may have been held in a conspicuous- T^a/ce, and by day; 
and thus much may be inferred^ from their mounts of as- 
sembly; but what regarded their internal discipline, and the 
mysteries of their veligion, was cei^tainly conducted with 
greater privacy, 

" J Decent multa, nobilissimos gentis," says P. Mela, 
*'%clam, et diu, vicenis annis, iii specu, aut in abditis 
" saltibus.\\ And their effectual regard to secrecy, is foi?- 
cibly pointed out, by what the author immediately adds 

• See Owen's Introd. to U. H€n. p. $7, 48. Also. Williains's Poems, V. II. 
p, 39, note, and p. 216. 

f In 4 consecrated plE|ce. 

J " They give lesions upon a voriety of subjects, to the first nobility of the 
« nation," 

§ <• These lessons are private, and continued for a long time— for the 'spaqe 
« of twenty years, in a cave, or amongst inaccessible forests." 

II Lib. m. Q. 8. 


— .«*Ujjum ex iis, quae prseoipiunt, in vulgus effluxit."-^ 
The attentive ear of curiosity- had been able to catch but 
ene of their institutional Triads. 

Caesar also mentions the solicitude of the Druids, lest 
th6ir discipline should be exposed to public view : and their 
religious meetings, though covered by the inaccessible 
grove, were holden in the night, as well as at noon, 

" + Medio cum Phoebus in axe est, 
Aut Goelum nox atra tenet." + 


With all this, the celebration of the nightly mysteries, 
described in the chair of Tdliedn, his. Ogoj; Gorddewin, 
Cave, or Specus of the Arch-Diviner, the torches of Cerid' 
wen, which flamed at midnight, and at the damn, together 
with Merddin's concealment injthe Caledonian forest, per- 
fectly accord. 

I shall close my preliminary section, when I have brought 
the Bards into one more point of comparison with thejr 
venerable instructors, the Druids, 

This ancient order of men does not recommend -itseir to 
our notice, merely as teachers, of a false philosophy, or 
presidents of a gloomy superstition, 

• One of the maxims which they teacl|, has found its way to the Public. 

+ " When the sun is in th( 
covers the sky," 

} Lucan. Fhaml Ub. III. 

+ " When the sun is in the middle pf his co«r»e, of When the dar^^ight 
* covers the sky," 


" The Druids were remarkable for justice, moral and 
*' religious doctrines, and skill in the laws of their country : 
*' for which reason, all disputes were referred to their arbi-s 
" tration : and their decision, whether relating' to private 
*' and domestic, or public and civil affairs, was final." * 

^ Mela, speaking of the three nations, of Gallia GoiData, 
says — " "j- Habent facundiam suamj magistrosque sapientisii 
« Druidas."J 

Sotion, in Libro successibnum, confirmat^ Druidas, di- 
v'mif humanique Juris, peritimmos fuisse.^ 

The learned Mr. Whitaker regards the three first books 
of, the Lazes of Howel, as comprising the Laws of the j4n- 
dent Britons. And the Manksmen ascribe to the Dniids, 
those excellent laws, by which the Isle of Man has always, 
been governed. II 

Whether these decisions be allowed in a full, or only in 
a qualified sense, they seem utterly incompatible with the 
doctrine of that chair, which admits of a contimial lapse in 
religious principles, the only real foundation of laws and 
of morals ; which disallows the existence of human authority, 
and insists upon an equality so absolute, as to precluile all 
just subordination, and established order in society. 

• Borlase, B. II. ch. 13, from Strabo, Lib. IV. ^ 

t " They have an eloquence of their own, and theit Druids as teachete o( 
♦• wiadom." 

t Lib. III. c. 3. 

$ Lei. de Script. Brit. p. 5, 

U See Carte's Hist. p. 46. 


That admirable Triad, recorded by Diogenes Laertius, 
as a leading principle of the Druids, is of a complexion 
very different from this. It recommends piett/ towards the 
Dejty, innocence in our intercourse with mankind, and the 
exercise of fortitude in the personal character : and hence it 
prepares us to look for something of value in their moral 

And as the Bards profess to have drawn all their doctrines 
ffom the Druidical fountain, I think, there is no subject 
which ascertains the authenticity of their pretensions bet-i 
ter, than that of moral instruction, and the study of human 
nature. Their lessons of this kind, however, are generally 
comprised in short and pithy aphorisms. 

Amongst the most curious remains of the old Bards, we 
may class those metrical sentences, called tribanau, or trip-' 
lets. Each of these is divided into three short verses, 
which are again united by the final rhymes, 

The most singular feature qf these versicles is, that tha 
sense of the two first verses has no obvious connection with 
that of the last. The first line contains some trivial re- 
mark, suggested by the state of the air, the season of the 
year, the accidental meeting of some animal, or the like. 
To this is frequently subjoined, something that savours 
more of reflection ; then the third line comes home to the 
heart, with a weighty moral precept, or a pertinent remark 
upon men and manners. My meaning will be best e:^'' 
Blaiijed by a few examples. 

Eiry mynydd — gwangcus laj- 
Gochwiban gwynt ay dalar — 
Yn yr ing gorau yw'r C^- 


" Snow of the moutitain ! the bird is ravenous for food — 
" Keen whistles the blast on the headland — In distress, the 
*' friend is most valuable !" 


Glaw allan, yngan clydwr — 
Melyn eithin ! crin evwr ! — 
Duw Rheen, py beraist lyvwr !, 

" It rains without, and here is a shelter-^What ! the 
" yellow furze, or the rotten hedge! Creating Godf why 
" hast thou formed the slothful !" 

Y ddeilen a drevyd Gwynt*— 

Gwae hi o'i thynged; — 

Hgn hi! eleni y ganed ! 

" The leaf is tossed about by the wind — 

" Alas, how wretched is fate !— 

" It is old! But, this year was it bom !" 

I seem already to perceive a smile upon the countenance 
of the critical reader. The force of the concluding maxim, 
or the depth of reflection, and accuracy of remark, which 
it evinces, will hardly protect our Druidical lectures from 
the charge of puerile conceit. I do not bring forward our 
British Doctors as men of the highest polish, or most accu- 
rate taste. But let us consider, if any thing can be said 
in their defence. 

Some praise must be due to the ingenuity of a devifee, 
which was calculg,ted, through the rudeness of ancient 

• The true teading seems to be — 

y ddeHcti'gWi/nt «.'i threved. 


British society, to lead the mind, imperceptibly, from it 
trivial remark upon the screaming of hungry birds, the 
state of the weather, or a dry leaf tossed about by the 
wind, to the contemplation of moral truth, or to pertinent 
reflection upon the state of man. And these triplets, which 
the people learned by rote, were peculiarly adapted to pro- 
duce such a salutary effect. 

For the introductory objects of remark, being of the 
most familiar kind, were daily before their eyes : and their 
very occurrence would naturally suggest those maxims and 
reflections, which the memory had already connected with 
them. A nation wholly unrefined, and which, at best, had 
but a scanty supply of ' books, arid those in few hands, 
must have found the beniefit of this mode of instruction. 
Whatever page of nature was presented to their view, their 
teachers had contrived to make it a page of wisdom. 

Let us apply this observation to the examples which I 
have given. The appearance of snow upon the hills, or of 
hungry and screaming birds, suggests the remark — r" There 
*' is snow upon the mountain ; the bird screams for food." 
With this, the memory connects the second clause, de- 
scribing a cold and dreary season, in which wjam, as well as 
the wild fowl, probably felt distress. "Keen whistles the 
" blast on the headland." Then the third clause, drawn 
by the chain of memory, comes home to the bosom, and 
excites a feeling suitable to such a season. " In distress, 
*' the friend is most valuable." As if his heart had com-* 
manded him — " Now go, and perform the most sacred of 
" social duties — ^relieve thy distressed friend/' 

So, in the second triplet, a man vflffo has neglected hi& 
duty or his business, to indulge an indolent habit, is re- 


minded, by a sprinklitog showei*, &f the trivial remark— 
" It rains without, but here is a shelter." He then recol- 
lects — " What, the yellow furze, or the rotten hedge !" 
And is ashamed of his indolence. This feeling is imme-^ 
diately strengthened by the emphatieal reflection—" Gre- 
" ating God! why hast thou formed the slothful !" 

The emblem of the shortness and frailty of human life, 
in the third examj)le, is soifliciently obvious. 

I shall subjoin a few more translated specimais of Celtic 

" It is the eve of winter — social converse is pleasant-^ 
" The gale and the storm keep equal pace — To preserve a 
" secret, is the part of the skilful (Celvydd)." 

" It is the eve of winter. The stags are lean — the tops 
" of the birch are yellow: deserted is the summer dwelling 
" — Woe to him who, for a ta:ifling advantage, merits 
" disgrace." 

" Though it be small, yet ingenious is the bird's fabric 
*' in the skirt of the wood — The viituous and the happy 
*' are of equal age." 

" Chill and wet is the mountain— *Cold. is the grey ice — 
" Trust in God; he will not deceive thee; nor wiU perse- 
" veriog patience leave thee long in affliction." 

" It rains without ; the brake is drenched with the shower 
•' -—The sand of the sea is white with its crown of foam,'— 
*' Patience is the fairest light for man." 


*' Snow of the mountain! bare is the top of the reed— 
*•• The man of discretion Cannot assodiate with the silly-^- 
" Where nothing has been learned, there can be no ge- 

*' Snow of the mountain! the fish are in the shallow 
" stream — The lean, crouching stag seeks the shady glen— 
" God will prosper the industry of man." 

" Snow of the mountain ! the birds are tame— The dis- 
" erectly happy needs only to be born — God himself cannot 
" procure gopd for the wickied." 

Though it be admitted, . that this metSbd of teaching 
moral wisdom, was continued by the Britons for some time 
after the introduction of Christianity, yet I tliink, for 
several reasons, that this singular mode of classing the 
ideas, was derived from the school of the Druids; and 
that several of the triplets, still extant, have descended 
from their times. 

The sentences are divided into three members each; and 
three was a sacred and mystical numbea: amongst the 

The metre is also the most ancient, of which the Welsh 
have any tradition. And it does not appear from history, 
that the Britons could have borrowed the model of sucl* 
composition from any nation with which they were con- 
nected, since the period of the Roman conquest. 

The plan of these triplets has that mixture of rude sim- 
plicity, and accurate observation, which histpry ascribes tQ 


tlie Druids. Here, the barbaric muse appears in hef tustiC 
dress, without a single ornament of cultivated taste. 

This sententious way of writing h&i, for many c6nturies^ 
become obsolete amongst the Welsh. J^^othing of this cha- 
racter is found in those Bards who have written since the 
Norman conquest. Even the metre has scarcely been used 
since the time of Llywarch H§n, in the sixth century^ 
Taliesin and Aneurin seem to have rejected it as antiquated, 
and too simple and unadorned. 

The introduction of this Style of philosophizing, was 
certainly long before the time of any known Bard, whose 
works are now extant. For in. our oldest poems, we find 
several of these maxims detached from their connection, 
and used as common-place aphorisms. And moreover, the 
very same aphorisms, as being now public property, are 
employed, without scruple, by several contemporary Bards, 
tliough the simple form of the triplet had been generally 
laid aside. 

Beside the triplets here described, there are certain moral 
stanzas, of six or eight lines each, consisting of detached 
sentences, connected only by the final rhymes, and each 
stanza beginning with Eiry Mynydd, Snow of the Moun- 
tain. These seem to be nothing more than metrical arrange- 
ments of aphorisms, taken from ancient triplets. The two 
first are as follows : * 

" Snow of the mountain! troubksome is the world I 

• Twelve of these are ascribed to Mervinduawdrydd, whose age is unknown, 
unless it be a corrupt reading for Anturin Cwawdr'ydd} and niueteen beat tlw 
name of n son of Llywarch Ilea. 


'* No man can foretd the accidents to which wealth is ex- 
" posed. Anogance will not arrive at a state of security. 
" Prosperity often comes after adversity. Nothing endures 
" hut for a season. To deceive the innocent, is utterly dis- 
" graceful. No man will ever thrive by vice. OifGod 
" alone let us place our dependence." 

" Snow of the mountain! white it the horn of smoke, 
" The thief is in, love with darkness. Happy is the man 
" who has done no evil. The frowafd is easily allured to 
" do mischief. No good befals the lascivious person. An 
" old grudge often ends in a massacre. A fault is most 
" conspicuous in a prince. Give less heed to the ear, than 
" to the eye." 

The following are amongst the aphorisms of the other 

" A noble descent is the most desolate of widows, unless 
-" it be wedded to some eminent virtue." 

" In contending with direful events, great is the resource 
" of human reason." 

" The most painful of diseases, is that of the heart." 

" The leader of the populace is seldom long in office." 

" For the ambitious, the limits of a kingdom are too 
" narrow." 

" The blessing of competency is* not inferior to that of 
" abundance." 


" When the hour of extravagance is spent, that of iridi- 
" gence succeeds." 

" Many are th6 ifriends of the golden tongue." 

" Beware of treating any thing with coritempt." 

" Obstruct not the prospect of futurity, tb provide for 
*' the present." 

" Pride is unseemly in a ruler." 

" The virgin's best robe is her modesty ; but confidence 
" is graceful in a man." 

" Freely acknowledge the excellence of thy betters." 

" A useful calling is more valuable than a treasure." 

" Like a ship in the midst of the sea, without rope, o* 
" sail or anchor, is the young maiji who despises advice." 

The stanzas of the months, ascribed to Aneurin^ are en- 
titled to some notice, as containing a singular mixture of 
moral and physical remarks. Thus, for example. 


In the month of April, thin is the air upon the heights. 
The oxen are weary. Bare is the surface of the ground. 
" The guest is entertained, though he be not invited. The 
" stag looks dejected. Playful is the hare. Many are 
*' the faults of him who is not beloved,* Idleness is uri- 
" worthy of the healthy. Shame has no place on the cheek 

* Or, Wh» hm jjo friend. 


" o( the upright. Desolation awaits the phiJdren of the 
*' unjust. After arrogance, comes a long abasement." 

"The Viaticum of Llevoed, a Bard of the tenth jceiitury, 
is the most modern production of any known author in this 
aphoristical style. I give the foUdwing specimens. 

" Wealth of the world ! let it go ; let it come ! Be it 
" disposed of as it may, A state of anxiety is upon a level 
" with real penury. Serenity wiU succeed, when the rain 

" Amongst the children of the same nursery, equality is 
" seldom found: the brave will play, whilst his blood is 
*' flowing about him: the submissive will be trampled 
*' upon : the fierce will be avoided : the discreet is in co- 
" venant with prosperity; to him, God pours forth his 
" bounty." 

*' Confidence in noble blood, is like the billow that meets 
" the shore: whilst we are calling out — Lo there!' it has 
" already subsided," 

" Incurious is the man who observes not— Tfho, though 
•' he regard it unmoved, does not consider what may hap^ 
" pen hereafter." 

♦' Woe to the land where there is no religion !" 

" The man who disbelieves a God, is incapable of reason." 

" The mart ■vyho breaks the unity of society, is the bier 
" mish of the assembly, the aifliction of the woi^b that 
" bare him; the detestation of the country." 

G 3 


" Even in an act of profusion, have regard to economy." 

" A profession is calculated for society ; a -treasure-bag 
" for banishment." 

" The founding of a city, is the ruin of a desert." 

A complete collection of the adages and moral maxims, 
preserved in the Welsh language, would fill a considerable 
volume. Hence it appears, that the application of the 
Bards to moral science, as well as the other pursuits of their 
genius, justifies their pretensions to the lore of the ancient 




General View of Druidical Theology — Character and Rites 
of Hv, the Helio-Arkite God — the Bacchus of the heathen 

JL N the introductory section of this Essay, I have brought 
home the profession of Druidism to the ancient Welsh 
Bards; and, by a collation of several of the topics upon 
which they expiate, with classical authorities, have proved 
the justice of their claim to that character which they as- 
sume. I have also shewn, that the mythological Triads are 
founded in genuine Biitish tradition ; and that the notices 
which these documents present, are, for the most part, con- 
sistent with the works of those Bards, who profess them- 
selves disciples of the Druids. 

From these authentic remains of British lore, I shall now 
endeavour to deduce such a gejieral view of the theology 
and rites of our heathen ancestors, as the nature and extent 
of these documents will admit of. To attempt a complete 
investigation of every minute part of this subject, and to 
prepare myself to answer every question that may be asked, 
is not in my contemplation. This would be imposing upon 
myself a task, difficult in execution, and, perhaps, not very 
gratifying to the Public in its accomplishment. The hardy 
antiquary, who shall dare to penetrate far into the labyrinth 
of British mythology, will have frequent occasion to com- 
plain of the interruption of his clue, and the defect of 


monuments, amongst our half Christian Bards. Yet the 
same Bards furnish hints abundantly sufficient, to point out 
in what the Druidical superstition chiefly consisted, and 
from what foundation it arose. And this seems to be all 
that can be interesting or importaift in the subject be- 
fore us. 

As I would willingly qualify my reader, to satisfy his own 
curiosity, and form his own opinion, independent of mine, 
X shall suffer no assertion of moment to intrude upon him, 
without a full exhibition of the passage upon which it is 
grounded. This seems requisite in the present case. Were 
my evidence to be drawn from the writers of Greece and 
Rome, or firom wellrknown authors of modern times, it 
might be sufficient to cite books, chapters, and verses. But 
as Cambro-British documents are less accessible to the 
learned, I deem it expedient to produce the original w^ords 
of my authors, with close English translations. Such au- 
thorities will be^occasionally introduced, where the subject 
calls for them. As several of the ancient poems, however, 
are of a miscellaneous nature, upon which various remarks 
will arise, I have thrown a collection of them together, as 
as Appendix, and I shall refer to them as they are 

Before I enter upon the discussion, it may be proper to 
apprize my reader, of the general deductions I make from 
these documents, respecting the nature and source of the 
3)ruidical superstition, that he may have a clear prospect of 
the point at which I mean to arrive, and be better enable^ 
to judge of my progress towards jt, 

Pruidism, then, as we find it in British docuinentS, was 
A systeiii of guperstitipn, composed _of heterogeneous prin« 


ciples. It acknowledges certain divinities, under a great 
variety of names " and attributes. .These divinities were, 
originally, nothing more than deified mortals, and material 
objects ; mostly connected with the history of the deluge : 
but in the progress of error, they were regarded as sym- 
bolized by the sun, moon, and certain stars, which, in 
consequence of this confusion, were venerated with diyine 

And this ?\iperstition apparently arose;^ from the gra- 
dual or accidental corruption of the patriarchal religion, by 
the abuse of certain commemorative honours, which were 
paid to the ancestors of the hilman race,' and by the ad- 
mixture of Sabian idolatry. 

Such is the general impression, that the study of ancient 
British writings leaves upon my mind. This view, I am 
aware, differs from the opinion maintained* by some re- 
spectable authors, that the Druids acknowledged the unity 
of God.* 

If ever they made such a profession, they must be un- 
derstood in the sense of other heathens, who occasionally 
declared, that their multitude of false gods really consti- 
tuted but one character ; and not as implying, that they 
worshipped the true God, and him alone. 

That they had no knowledge or recollection of the great 
FIRST CAUSE, I will not venture to assert. I have some 
reason to conclude, that they did acknowledge his exist- 
ence, and his providence; but they saw him faintly, through 
the thick veil of superstition, and their homage and ado- 

» See Antiq. of Cornwall, p. 107. 


ration were almost wholly engrossed by certain supposed 
agents, of a subordinate nature. 

And the view of this subject, presented by the Bards, is 
consistent with history. Cassar, in his deliberate and cir- 
cumstaiitial ^account of the Druids, gives us this informa- 
tion. " Multa — * de Deorum immortalium vi, ac potestate, 
" disputant, et juventuti tradunt. Deum maxime Mercu- 
" rium colunt — hunc omnium inventorem artium ferunt 
" —post hunc, , ApoUinem, et Martem, et Jovem, et Mi- 
" nervam. De his eandemyer^, quam reliquae gentes, ha- 
" bent opinionem," &c. 

This memorial was drawn up, after the historian had 
enjo3^ed a long and intimate acquaintance with Divitiacus, 
one of the principal of the order in Gaul; and after his 
repeated expeditions into Britain, where the institution was 
affirmed to have originated, and where it was observed with 
superior accuracy in his time. Testimonies so precise and 
minute, coming from a writer thus circumstanced, must 
imply a considerable degree of publicity in this part of the 
Druidipal doctrine. The priests of Gaul and Britain ac- 
knowledged a plurality of divinities, and maintained opi- 
nions respecting them, which were the same, in substance, 
with those of the Greeks and Romans, 

The gravity and dignity of our autlior's character, the 
pointed precision of his language, together with the pecu- 
liar access to accurate information, which his situation of- 

• They dispute largely concerning the force and power of the immortal gods, 
and instruct the youth in their principles. Of all the gods, they pay the 
greatest honours to Mercury, whom they represent as the inventor of all arts. 
After him, ihcy worship Apollo, and Mars, and Jupiter, and Minerva. Their 
cpiliion respecting these, nearly coincides with that gf other nations, &e. 


fered, must place his testimony above the reach of critical 

Some allowance, however, may be demanded^i for the 
force of the qualifying particle, ferh ; and the whole pas- 
sage may be understood as implying, that the similarity 
between the Celtic and the Roman superstition, was such, 
as to give Caesar a general impression of their identity; and 
such as may furnish us with an argument, that they ori- 
ginally sprung from the same source ; though the gods of 
the Druids may not have exactly corresponded with those 
of the Greeks or Romans, in their pedigree, their names, 
or their attributes. 

The Druidical corresponded with the geneml superstition, 
not only in its theology, but also in the ceremonies by which 
the gods were worshipped. Dionysius informs us, that the 
rites of Bacchus were duly celebrated in the British islands:* 
and Strabo cites the authority of Artemidorus,. that, "In 
" an island close to Britain, Ceres and Proserpine are vene- 
" rated, with rites similar to the orgies of Samothrace."-|' 

As it is, then, an historical fact, that the mythology and 
the rites of the Druids were the same, in substance, with 
those of the Greeks and Romans, and of other nations 
which came under their observiation, it must follow, that 
these superstitions are reducible to the same principles, and 
that th^y proceeded from the same source. 

And here our British documents point, with clearness and 

* Perieg. V, 565, &e. 
+ Lib. JV. 


energy, to the very same eoncluslons, which have bee* ' 
drawn by the best scholars, and most able antiquaries, who 
have treated of general mythology. 

Mr. Bryant, the great analyzer of heathen tradition, has, 
with luminous ability, traced the superstition of the Gen-r 
tiles to the deification of ISfoah, his ark, and his immediate 
progeny, joined wjth the idolatrous worship of the host of 

With a dutiful regard to his illustrioiis master, though 
superior to servile imitation, Mr. Faber pursues the inves-r 
ligation still farther, and discovers, that Noah was wor- 
shipped in conjunction with the sun, and the ark in conjunc- 
tion with the moon ; and that these were the principal dim- 
nities of the heathens. With this author's mysteries of the 
Cabiri, I was wholly unacquainted, at the time when I 
drew up the present Essay ; but I found in this book so 
Hilany points of coincidence with my previous observations, 
that I determined to revise the whole, to alt^r a few para- 
graphs, and add occasional notes. 

That the opinion of the Public is not uniformly favour- 
ijble to these authors, I am fully aware. 

Some critics, taking a distant and prospective view of 
the subject, pronounce it an improbable hypothesis, that 
all antiquity should be so mad after Noah and the ark; 
whilst others, finding that the authors indulge in a fanciful 
system of etymology, coldly remark upon the fallacy of 
such a principle, and toss the books aside, as unworthy of 
farther notice. But surely it may be presumedj that those 
who thus condemn them in the mass, had either too mucK. 
prejudice, or too little patiencCj to go step by step over the 



ground. Men of leai-ning and genius may have been se- 
duced, by a favourite system, into minute and particular 
«rrors and absurdities; and yet, the main scope of their 
argument may be perfectly just, and their general conclu- 
sions founded in truth. 

In the supposition, that Noah was a principal object of 
superstition to the Gentile world, I can discover no absur- 
dity a priori. It is admitted, that some, at least, of the 
heathen gods were nothing more than deified mortals, and 
that the worship of such gods was introduced very soon 
after the age of Noah. It is then natural to presume, that 
this distinguished person must have been the first object of 
selection, in consequence of his relative situation, as the 
Xiniversal kiiag of the world, and the great patriarch of all 
the infant nations. To this, some weight may be added, 
from his character and history, as the Jmt Man, whose 
integrity preserved himself and his family amidst the ruins 
of a perishing world. ' And this superstition being once set 
on foot, -would naturally extend its honours to his sons and 
immediate descendants, as the founders of their respective 

So again it is easy to conceive, that even in the age of 
Noah, the ark was commemorated with great respect, as 
the means of miraculous preservation ; and that a growing 
superstition soon seized upon it, as an object of idolatrous 
\(forship; or else, r6pr'esented that Providence, which had 
guided it in safety, through the tumult of a boundless de- 
luge, as a benign goddess, the Genim of the sacred vessel. 

. Just so the brazes serpent, set up by Moses in the wil- 

derness, was adored by the idolatrous Israelites t — just so, 
the Cross and the Virgin Mary are at this day abused by 
the church of Rome. 

There is, therefore, no absurdity in the grounds of the 
hypothesis, which can be allowed to militate against the 
clear deduction of facts. 

The scheme of etymology, it must be owned, has been 
carried to great lengths by these learned authors : and here, 
I think, they often lay themselves open to the censure of 
men, whose genius and attainments are greatly inferior tq 
their own. 

The Greeks having admitted, that many of the terms 
connected with their superstition were of foreign origin, 
&nd some writers having asserted, that the language of the 
mysteries was that of Egypt, or of Assyria, these mytho- 
I'ogists undertake to retrace the sacred terms of heathenism, 
to the fountain from whence they sprung. With this view, 
each of them has selected a list of ancient primitives from 
various languages, but chiefly from the Hebrew and its 
dialects. Into these primitives, they resolve the sacred 
terms of all nations. The names of gods, heroes, &c. 
which, to the ordinary scholar, appear nothing more than 
plain Greek or Latin, are all referred to this mystic voca- 
bulary. Hence arises an occasion of charging the Greeks 
with the gross perversion of sacred titles and symbols, and 
the puerile corruption of foreign words, into something of 
similar sound in their own idiom, but of very different im- 
port from the original tradition ; and hence the magisterial 

» ? Kings, ch. XYJii. v. i. 


pi^actice of carrying them back, in disjointed syllables, to 
their supposed originals^ 

This has given oflfence to many critical readers, who 
maintain, that by such a mode of proceeding, any common 
word may be forced into whatever meaning the author 
ipleases. How far such a scheme of, etymology. may be 
allowed, I shall not pretend to determine. At the same 
time, I must acknowledge that, in my apprehension, these 
gentlexnen have made an injudicious, as well as an intem- 
perate use of it. Proofs of this kind seldom amount to 
demonstration. They give the reader too many occasions 
of hesitating, or of differing in opinion from his author ; 
and thus tend to lessen that confidence, which might other- 
wise have been preserved by the legitimate argument, and 
the candid exposition of recorded facts, which are to be 
found in the works before us. 

Could 1 give an unqualified assent to the justice of these 
etymologies, yet, in my present subject, I should not be 
able to reduce them to general practice. For though most 
of the sacred terms, employed in the British documents, 
have meanings appropriate to the business in hand, and 
should therefore be translated, yet by far the greatest, part 
of them are native terms of the British language, and 
have the same import with the corresponding terms in 
Greek mythology. 

Were I then to admit, that the Greek terms are nothing 
more than etymological blunders, I must also infer that the 
Britons, who furnish us with the very same blunders in 
their own dialect, derived their mythology immediately from 
the Greeks : but I have some reason to believe that this was 
not the case. 


In Ae mystic, fiards and tales, I find certain tefins, 
which evidently pertain to the Hebrew language, or to 
some dialect of near affinity; as Adonai, the Lord; Al 
Adiur, the Gloriom God; Arazen, the Arkite, and the like, 

Taliesin, the chief Bard, declares, that his lore had haeQ 
detailed in Hebraic;* and in a song, the substance .of 
which he professes to have derived froni the sacred Ogdoad, 
,or Arkites, there are several lines together in some fojeiga 
dialect, apparently of great affinity with the Hebrew, 
though obscured by British orthography. •{- Hence I think 
it probable, that the Britons once had certain mystic 
poems, composed in some dialect of Asia; that this is a 
fragment of those poems; and that those parts of their 
superstition, which were not properly Celtic, were derived 
from that quarter of the globe. And if so, our ancestors 
could not have obtained their sacred vocabulary, by adopit* 
ing the mere grammatical blunders of the Greeks. 

Thus I am compeiHed to decline any g£aieral assistance 
from the derivations of our learned mythologists. At the 
same time, I shall not scruple to remark occasional coin- 
cidences between British terms, and those which appear ia 
their works. This, I trust, I may do with impunity. If 
some of their etymologies are forced or doubtful, others 
may be .natuial, and well founded. 

Thus far I have deemed it prudent to meet the objection* 
of criticism. Should this compromise prove unsatisfactory, 
i must farther declare, that the ba&ia of my argument doa» 

* See Appendix, No, 13. 
t Ibid. Nb. is. 


not Test upon the works of these authors. I cite them only 
for collateral proof, or elucidation of the evidence which I 
draw from another source; and, for the purpose of veri- 
fying the report of history, that the superstition of tiie 
Druids was radically the same with that of other nations. 
In my attempt to establish my main proposition, I mean t® 
stand or fall upon my own ground. 

And to this end I must, first of all, produce evidence, 
that the people who professed Druidism, retained some 
memorials of the deluge, and of the patriarch of the new 

The subject lias already been touched upon in the volume 
which I lately published. I there remarked a curious record 
in the British Triads, of an cCmful event, namely. The 
bursting forth of the Lake of Llion, and the overwhelming 
of the face of all lands; so that all mankind were drowned, 
excepting Dwyvan and Dwyvach, who escaped in a naked 
vessel (or a vessel without sails), and by whom the island of 
Britain was repeopled. 

To this I subjoined a tradition, taken from the same 
documents, of the Master-works, or great achievements of 
the Island of Britain. The first of thiese was. Building the 
ship of Nevydd Ndv Neivion, which carried in it a male and 
a female of every animal species, when the Lake 'of Llion 
burst forth: and the second was. The drawing of -the Avanc 
,to land, out of the lake, by the oxen of Hu Gadarn, -so that 
the lake burst no more.* 

These are evident traditions of the deluge; and their 

— -.,— — 1-1 — ....I. ■■■■ - - — ■!- - .■■. .. ■ .-I l.-l— ^i _ 

• See Celt. Res. p.- 157, from 4rchaiology of Wales, V. II. p. 59, and 7U 


ideality, as well as their other peculiarities, furnishes stiffi* 
cient proof, that they must have been ancient natvtnal tra- 
ditions. Such memorials as these cannot be supposed to 
have originated in the perversion of the sacred records, 
during any age subsequent to the introduction of Chris- 
tianity, The contrary appears, from their whimsical dis- 
crepancy with historical fact. 

The Britons, then, had a tradition of a deluge, which 
had overwhelmed all lands ; but this deluge, according to 
them, was occasioned by the sudden bursting of a lake. 
One vessel had escaped the catastrophe: in this a single 
man and woman were preserved; and as Britain and its 
inhabitants were, in their estimation, the most important 
objects in the world, so we are told, that this island, in an 
especial manner, was repeopled by the man and woman 
who had escaped. This has no appearance of having been 
drawn from the record of Moses : it is a mere mutilated 
tradition, such as was common to most heathen nations. 

So again, the Britons had a tradition, that a vessel had 
been provided, somewhere or other, to preserve a single 
family, and the race of animals, from the destruction of a 
deluge; but they possessed only a mutilated part of the 
real history: and, as tradition positively affirmed, that 
their oxen ancestors were concerned in theT)uildina: of this 
vessel, ' they naturally ascribed the achievement to that 
couiitry, in which their progenitors had been settled from 
remote antiquity. And lastly, they had a tradition, that 
some great operating cause protected the world from a re- 
petition of the deluge. They had lost sight of the true 
history, which rests this security upon the promise of the 
supreme Being, and ascribed it to the feat of a yoke of 
oxen, which drew tlie avanc, or beaver, out of tlie lake. 


And tlie want of more accurate information gstve them drt 
opportunity of placing this ideal achievement in the island 
of Britain. 

In such tales as these, we liave only the vestiges of hea- 
thenism. Even the locality of British tradition is exactly 
similar to that of other heathen reports; To give one 

The flood of Deucalion was undoubtedly the flood of 
Noah. It is described by Greek and Latin writers, with 
circumstances which apply exclusively to this event. There 
never has been another deluge, which could have borne a 
vessel to the top of a lofty mountain, and which destroyed the 
whole human race, excepting those who were preserved in 
that vessel. Yet the Thessalians represented Deucalion, 
the person preserved, as one of their own princes, and 
affirmed, that the vessel which escaped the deluge, rested 
upon the top of Parnassus, a mountain of their own couiitry. 

It may be remarked, that upon their popular tradition of 
the deluge, the Britons grounded another national error. 
They represented the Cynii-y as having descended from one 
inother (thei woman who disembarked from the sacred ship), 
within this island, or, in other words, that this was the 
cradle of the Cymry nation. And it appears from Caesar, 
that the Britons of his age, in the interior of this island, 
had the very same ancient tradition or memorial Biatan- 
niae pars interior ab iis incolitur, quos natos in insuld ipsa, 
jdKMORiA PjtOBrrrM dicunt.* 

•De Bell. Gal, L. V. c. 18. 


But the mass pf heathen tradition is always foujjid to have 
soip,e degree 6f iflfonsistency with itself. Sopie cjreum- 
stance of true history^ which is disguised in oqe tale, is 
frequently let out in another. Thus I have remarked a tra-s 
dition in the same Tricids, which brings the Cymry under 
thi^ cqndijct of, Hu, from a place called Defrobani, in the 
laijjd, o£ H^v; and this i^. understooid to imply thj? neigh- 
bourhood of Constantinople, in the eastern part of Thrace, 
The former may have been the popular tradition of the 
ii^tcrior Britons, or what their teachers thought proper to 
i^icH^ate to the multitude; whilst the latter belonged fa 
those who had preserved a few more vestiges. of ancient, his-- 
tory. -4nd that this had been the route of thg. Cymry, in. 
their, progress out of Asia into Britain, is incidentally con- 
-f^rpi^e^ by t^e popi^lar tradition of the Britons respecting 
thg deluge. For though tfe? memory, of &is event was 
afeost universal, yet the traditions of every-yeople fipon 
this subject, had some circimistances which were local, or 
nationp,lly discriniin^tive. And . the .tradjliion of Briims, 
and of the Samothracians, as to the cause of the delnge, 
were precisely the same, .,_ 'y. , . " -. 

The British tradition tells us, that the waters of a lake 
burst forth, ajftd .the inundation covered the face of all 
lan^s, . The same tale was told in the ancient Samos, which 
was,, perhaps, the /S'iJaw^ of British, mythdogy. 

" §amothj;ace is famous for a deluge which inundated the 
" country^ and reached the very top of the mountains. 
" This inundation, which happened before, the age of the 
" Argonauts, was oteing to the sudden overflow of the waters 
" of the Euxine, which the ancients considered merely as a 
" lake."* 

* Lemphere Bib, Class. V, Samothracia* 


That thd pefversion of real history, in botli these ac-s 
counts, is precisdy the same, must bfe obvious to every 
one. Such a peculiar coincidence could not have hap- 
Jjened, without direct communication : and the tradition 
could not have become national,- without having been 
brought by a colony from one nation to aiiothef; and pre" 
liserved without interruption/ But the mythology of Samo- 
thrace mounts up to- a very remote sera of antiquity, and 
the Euxine, iri its neighbourhood, with i£s wide extent, 
find narrow outlet, furnishes a more probable! occasion fof 
such a tale, than any lake in the' neighbourhood of Britain. 
Hence the supposition, that this mythological story came 
with a colony from the l^egioh contiguous to the ancient 
Samos into Britain, agreeably to the memorial of our an^ 
cestors, and the tale of Hu, seems much more plausible, 
than the converse of that proposition. And here the testi- 
mony of Artemidorus, that the mysteries of Ceres and 
Proserpine were celebrated in one of the British islands, 
with the same rites as in Samothrace^ tends to corroborate 
the inference which I draw from our national tradition. 

The allusions to the delugfe, in British mythology, come 
under various points of view* On a former occasion,* I 
referred the history of Dylan Ail M6r, Dylan, Son of the 
Sea, or Ail Ton, Son of the Wave, to this event. But in 
looking over Mri Owen's Cambrian Biography, a volume 
which appeared whilst my book was in the press, I observe, 
that the author is of a different opinion, which he fhffs 

" Dylan ail Ton, a chieftain who lived about the begin- 

H 2 

• Celt; Res, p, 163, 


" ning of the sixth century, whose elegy, composed hj' 
" Taliesin, is preserved in the Welsh Archaiology/' 

As Mr. Owen grounds his opinion upon this elegy, I shall 
examine its contentSi In the mean J;ime, I may be allowed, 
in support of my own assertion, to bring forward a few 
passages, in which this name occurs. I shall leave the re- 
sult with the reader. 

Taliesin, in bis Cad Groddeii,* speaks thus of Dylan-^ 

" Truly I was in the ship 

" With Bytart, Son of the Sea, 

" Embraced in the centre, 

*' Between the Royal knees, 

" When, like the rushing of hostile spears^ 

" The floods came forth, 

" From Heaven, to the great deep." 

This passage surely has an evident allusi,on to the deluge. 
The Bard, therefore, must have regarded Dylan as no 
other than the patriarch who survived that catastrophe,- and 
whom hejMsf/y styles Teyrnedd, or Hoyal, as being the uni- 
versal monarch of the new world; 

So again, in his Mabgyvreu, f the same Bard alludes to 
the British tiaditron of the deluge, and speaks of the day 
of Dylan, as a peculiar theme of his muse.- 

Arall ni chan — wyd 
Dy ysgvvyd allan, 

- — b. — HI • — , I ■■ I II 

• W. Archaiol. p. 30. 
t Ibid. p. 'ii. 


Pan yw gofaran — twrwf 
Tonneu wrth Ian, 
Yn nial Dylan; 
Dydd a haedd attan, 

*' No other Bard will sing — the violence 

♦* Of convulsive throes, 

" When forth proceeded — with thundering din, 

" The billows against the shore, 

" In Dylan's day of vengeance— tt 

f A day which extends to us," 

The last line of this passage, as I shall shew hereafter, 
alludes to certain mystic rites, which the Druids celebrated 
in coHjmenioration of the deluge, 

Casnodyn, an eminent Bard of the fourteenth century, in 
speaking of the future judgment, alludes to this passage of 
Taliesin, and copies several of his words : at the same time, 
he introduces certain images, which may remind us of the 
Druidical opinion, that fire and tmter would, at some pe^ 
liod, prevail over the world,* 

" He whom we know, will suddenly prepare the field of 
" judgment : to us .will he come, and will not keep silence. 
" When God shall reveal his countenance^ the house of 
♦' earth will uplift itself over us : a panic of the noise of 
*' legions in the conflict, will urge on the flight ; harshly, 
" the loud-voiced wind will call : the variegated wave tcUI 
" dash around the shore: the glancing flame will take to 
•' itself the vengeance of justice, r-ecruited by the heat of 
<' contending fires, ever bursting forth."-}- 

• Strabo, L. IV. 

t W, Archaiol. p. 431, 


In the same poem, the Bar^ thus «S3fpresses himself, in 
aij jKldress to the_S)]preme Being — 

Trevnaist syr a mjr morawl Dylan. ' 

(( Thou didst set in o):4er the stars, ai^d the seas, of the 
f sea-faring D^lan.'^ 

Pence it \% clear, that the anpient and rnodern Pards 
regarded Dylan, the son of the sea, as no other personage 
than the pa,triarch, whose hjstory is connected wifh that of 

the deluge, 

It is now time to look for the elegy, which Taliesin com-r 
posed for this venerahle character. This little piece is not 
to be fouiid in the Archaiology ; but, from a copy in my 
possession, I am led to conclude that the title is erroneous, 
and that, instead of being called jyfarwnad Dylan, the 
Elegy of Dylan, it ought to have been, Cerdd am Ddylan, 
§ Song respecting Dylan. The argument is simply this, 

A certain plain having been inundated in the age of pur 
Bard, he expostulates with the Deity upon the occasion of 
this event. He then maies a natural transition to the my- 
thology of the flood of Dylan, or the deluge, which had 
been occasioned by the profligacy of mankind, and concludes 
with a prayer for the deliverance pf his countrymen frpij^ 
the ejfisting cfilamity, 

Sqrjie of the lines are impprfect in my copy ; but >vith 
the correction of a few syllables, as suggested equally by 
the' sense, by the measure, and by the alliteration which 
jiiat Riea?ure require^, it stands as foljows— r 


Uil Duw uchAvj 
, Devvin doethav, 

Mwyav o vael. 
Py delis maes, ' ■ ■■■ 

Pwy ai swynas 

Yn Haw f rahael ? 
Neu gynt nog ev ' ' 

Pwy oedd tangnev, 

Ar reddv gavael ? '• 

Gwythriv gwastradth 
Gvvenwyn a wnaeth 

Gwaith gwythloesedd. 
Gwenyg Dylan 
Adwythig Ian, 

Gwaith yn hydredd. 
Ton Iwerddon, 
Ton Vanawon 

A thon Ogkdd, 
A thon Prydairi 
Tdrvoedd virain 

Yn beddirwedd^— 
Golychav i Md, 
Duw, Dovydd D&d, 

Gwlad heb omedd ; 
Creawdr Cell y' ■ 

A'n cynnwys ni ' ' 


Which may be thiis trandated*^ 

" Q sole, supreme God, most wise urifolder of Ste'crets, 
" most beneficent ! What has befaiUen the plain, who has 
** enchanted it ift the hands of the inost geiierdus ! In for- 


" mer times, what has been more peaceful than this district, 
f as a natural possession J. 

" It was the counter-reckoning pf. profligacy, which pro* 
f' duced the bane in the laborious pang of wrath — the Ml-; 
f lows of liylan furiously attacked the shore : forth, imper 
'' tuously, rushed the wave of Ireland, the wave of the 
" Manks, the Northern wave, and the wave of Britain, 
^* nurse of the fair tribes, in fguir ofdprs, 

" I will pray to the Father, God, the Ruler, the Fathef 
** who reigns without control, that he, the Creator, the 
♦* Mysterious One, would embrace us witlj his mercy j" 

This little ode, I think, cannqt supply the slightest shade 
of authority, for ranking Dylan ail Ton amongst the British 
chieftains of the sixth century. The namp merely occurs in 
the recital of a few circumstances of the national and local 
tradition of pur ancestors, respecting the deluge ; and thus 
\t connects the character of Dylan with that of Dwyvan, 
iaild Nevydd Ndv Neivjop, recorded in the Tpja^s, 

Dylan, the Declari of Jrish tradition, sounds like a con- 
traction of Deucalion ; and the people who preserved this 
name^ affirm, t]iat they derived their origin from the neighr 
bourhopd of Thessaly, where the story pf Deucalion was 
t:oId. But not to insist upon these circumstances, I may be 
allowed tp rpmark, that the sea, the waves, or even the 
streams of Dylan, are used in t|ie Welsh language, to de-; 
note the main ocean, or a boundless expanse of water ; and 
thq,t the roetaphpr evii^pptly refers \p the deluge. 

]H[g,ving now produced some evidence, that the Britons 
(^id retain certain giemorials of the deluge, and of the pa«. 


triarch who survived that catastrophe, I will, in the next 
place, consider their representation of thatpatriarch's cha^ 
ractef, that we may discover how far their notions respect- 
ing him, and the incidents of his days, affected their 
Rational religion. 

This venerable personage has already been introduced by 
» variety of names, as Dwyvan, I^evydd Ndv Neivion, and 
Dylan ; but wfi have had no positive evidence that he re-r 
peived divine honours. 

Were I permitted to Jay stress upon obvious etymologies, 
I might say, that some of those names are remarkable, and 
import that proposition. Thus Dwy, cause, origin, the 
existent. Dwy-van, the high or lofty cause — the father of 
mankind., His wife's name was Dwy-vach, the lesser cause — 
the mother of mankind. These names seem analogous to 
the Pangenetor and Magna Mater of antiquity, whiclt were 
objects of worship. 

So again : Nevydd, as a derivative of Nev, Heaven, im-r 
plies the celestial. Ndv, a Lord, the Creator: like many 
other terms of aijcienf British mythology, it is still used 
as a name of the Supreme Being. Neivion, in the Baxds, 
js 3, name of God. " Also the name pf a person in the 
" British njythology, probably the same with Neptune.''^ 
So that Nevydd Nav Neivion is the Celestial Lord Neivion. 

Under these consecrated characters, we may infer, that 
the patriarch Noah received divine honours; and conse- 
qijently, thg,t he constituted ppe pf the principal divinities 
acknowledged by the Druids. 

r^ — i:x- fs-^ — ' — — - — ■ ■ ■ '' 

* Pwen's Dipt, ji} V9cf. 


1 This fact admits of absolute pfoof, when we conteftiplate 
the charactei- of the same pattiarch, as delineated -under the 
name of Hu (pron. HeeJ, who secured the world from a 
repetition of the deluge, and whom the Cymry acknow- 
ledged as their remote progenitor, as the great founder 6f 
theijr sapred and civ^l institutes, and as their God, 

■- ■ -.4-- 

In order to elucidate, this subject, I shall, first of all, 
revise some of the evidence which I adduced upon a former 
occasion, : ■ 

In a Triad already cited, after the account of the saered 
ship which preserved the human and br'iite species, when 
the lake bupst forth and drowned the world, is subjoined. 
The drawing of the avanc ta Idmd out of the lake, by th^ 
oxen qf Hu GadaeI*-, so that the lake burst no more. Here 
his history is expressly referred to the age of the deluge. 
But what character did he support in that age? The my- 
thological Triads represent him only as a human patriarch, 
and a lawgiver. The folloAving particulars are riecorded 
pf him. 

1. He lived in the time of th^ flood 5 and 

2. With his oxen, he performed sOtae atehievent^nty which 
prevented the repetition of that calaniity. Triad 97.* 

3. He first collected together, or carried the primitive 
race; and 

4. Formed them into edmmunities or femilies, Triad 57. 

• These numbers refer tp that series which begins p. $7. W. Arshaiol. 


5: He first gave traditional liiws, for the regulation and 
government of society. Tria^ 92. 

6. He was eminently distinguished' ifor his regard to jus- 
lice, equity, and peace. Triad 5. 

7- He conducted the several families of the first race 
jto their respective settlements in the various regions, 
Triad 4. 

8. But he had instructed this r^ce in the art of husbandry 
previous to their removal and separation. Triad 56. 

Such are the particiilars which I find recorded ip those 
Triads, respecting Hu the Mighty. If characteristics like 
these determined my opinion, that the picture exclusively 
represented the patriarch Noah, I hope they have not led 
jne to transgress the laws of criticism, which have been air 
Jowed in similar cases. 

The great Mr. Bryant is satisfied with such marks as 
the^e : and he points out a delineation of the progenitor of 
all nations, in nearly the same words. 

" The patriarch, under whatever title he may come, is 
f generally represented as the father (jf Gods and men, ; but 
" in the character of Phoroneus,, (for in this he is plainly 
'' alluded to) he seems to be described merely, as the first 
f of mortals. The outlines of his history are so strongly 
*' marked, that we cannot mistake to whom the mythology 
*' relates. He live^ifi, the time of the flood : He flrst built 
f an altar : He flrst collected men together, and formed them 
(' ifito commifinitk^: He first gcoie. lazps, a^i . ^dstrib^t&i 


*' jmfiee : He dimded, mankind by their families and natfonSf 
'^ ove?' the face of the earth." * 

If the learned be. authorized by sound criticism, to refer 
the traditions of the Greeks to the incidents of primitive 
history, there can be no just reason for denying the like pri- 
vilege to the Britons, in behalf of their national mythology, 
when they find it has recorded the very same circumstances. 
The character of Hu is, then,^ as justly referable to the pa- 
triarch Noah, as that of Phoroneus, 

Before I trace the character of this personage, as delj^ 
neated by the ancient Bards, it may be proper to hear what 
was :sjiid and thought of him in the middle ages. lolo 
Goch, a learned Bard, who wrote in the fourteenth century, 
thus draws t}ie portrait of Hu, as a patriarch. 

Hu gadarn, por, hoew geidwawd 

Brenin a roe'r gwin a'r gwawd 

Emherawdr tir a moroedd 

A bywyd oil o'r byd oedd, 

Ai dalioedd gwedy diliw 

Aradr gwaisg arnoddgadr gwiw i, 

Er dangos ein ior dawngoeth 

I'r dyn balch, a'r divalch doelh 

Vod yn orau, nid gau gair, • 

Ungreft, gan y tid iawngrair. 

^' Hu the Mighty, the sovereign, the ready protector, 
" a king, thfe giVer of wine and renown, the emperor of the 
" land and th^ seas, anith^ life of all that are in the zcorld 
" was he. 

♦ Afialyaw, V. H p. 366.. 


*' Afur the deluge, he held the strong-ieamhd ploii^hf 
*' active and excellent ; this did our Lord of stimulating 
" genius, that he might shew to the proud man, and to the 
" humbly wise, the art which was most approved by ^le 
" faithful father 5 nor is this sentiment false/' 

It is scarcely possible, that the character of Noah should 
be drawn in stronger colours, or with touches more exclu- 
sively {Lppropriate. The picture can be ascribed to no othei' 

Yet this patriarch was actually deified and worshipped, 
by the ancient Biitons. — Sion Cent, an illustrious poet, of 
the fifteenth century, complains of the relics of the old su- 
perstitioii, and thus characterizes the religion of the votaries 
of Hu, as distinguished from that of Christ. 

l)wy ryw awen dioer ewybr' 
Y sy'n y byd, loewbryd Iwybr : 
Awen gan Grist> ddidrist ddadl 
O iawn dro, awen drwyadl : 
Awen arall, nid call cant 
^Ar gehvydd, vudr argoeliant t 
Yr b »n a gavas gwyr H u, 
Carnrwysg prydyddion CymrUj 

" Two active impulses truly, there are in the world ; 
" and their course is manifest ; an impulse from Christ — - 
" joyful is the theme— of a right tendency : an energetic 
" principle. 

**' Anothor impulse there is (indiscreetly sling) oi falshood 
" and base omens: this has been obtained by the men of 
^' Hu, the usurping Bards of Wales." 


Here, the Welsti are cliarged with their devotiori fo Hit^ 
as a Heathen God ; nor was this complaint of the Christian 
Bard teholly out of season ; for, however, strange it may 
appear in the present age, some of his conteflipordries were 
not ashamed to avow thera^lves the votaries of this Pagaflf 
divinity. Of this, the following lines of Hhys 3rydydd fnr-» 
aish a glaf iftg prodft 

Bychanav o'r bychenyd 
Yw Hu Gadarn, ve i barn byd ; 
A Mwyav a Nav i ni. 
Da Coeliwn, a'n Duw Celi. 
Ysgawh ei daitlr ag esgud: 
Mymryn tSs gloewyn ei gliidv 
A mawr ar dir a moroedd 
A mwyav a gav at goedd, 
Mwy no'r bybodd ! 'marbedwii 
Amharch gwael i'r mawr hael hwn ! 

" The smallest of the small is Hu the Mighty, in the 
" world's judgment ; ■ yet he is the greatest; and Lord over m^ 
we sincerely believe, and our God of mystery. Light is his 
course, and swift: a, particle of ludd sunshine is his car. 
He is great on land and Seas — the greatest whom I shall 
behold — greater thart- tlie worlds! Let us beware of oifer- 
ing mean indignity to him, the Great and the Boun' 

Here we find that Hu the Mighty, whose history as a pa- 
triarch, is precisely that of Noah, was promoted to the 
tank of the principal Demon God amongst the Britons ; and» 
as his chariot was composed of thg rays of the sun, it may be 
presumed that he was worshipped, in conjunction with that 


luminai'y : arid to the same supefstijasoo, we laay refef what 
18 said o£his light and swift course. 

Nor was Hu alone, elevated to the heavens, but even the 
sacred oxen, his constant attribute, were contemplated, as 
bellowing in the thunder, arid glaring in the lightning, upon 
which subject we have the following lines, by Llywelyn 

Ychain yn' o chynhenid 
H<i Gadarn, a darn o'i did 
A'i bum cingel, a welvvch, 
A pheirian auf flamdan flwch. 

" Should it be disputed, I assert— These are the oxen of 
" Hu the Mighty, with a part of his chain, and his fiv6 
" angels (or attendants) which ye now behold, with a 
" golden harness of active flame." 

The chain and the harness allude to the mythological at- 

chievement of Hu and his oxen — the drawing of the Avane 

out of the lake, so as to prevent the repetition of the 


Thus we find, that Hu Gadarn, to whom the Triads, 
evidently ascribe the exclusive history of Noah, is recog- 
nized in the same view precisely, by the Bards of the 
fourteenth century. 

He is acknowledged as a ready protector orpfeserver; thus=, 
the peculiar righteousness of Noah made him the preserver 
of the human race. 

He is the giver of wins and renown : so Noah was the first 

who planted a mneyard^ taught mankind the meth6d -of 
preparing wine, and pronounced a prophetic eulogy upon his 
dutiful sons* 

Hu was the Umperor of the land and seas : so Noah was 
the chief personage in the ark, the only vessel which pre- 
served life amidst the universal sea ; and after that sea had 
subsided, he became the emperor of the whole earth. 

flit was the life of all that are in the world; thuS, Noah 
Was the common parent of all nations, and of eniery indi' 

Arid lest wft should- retain any doubt as to the age m 
which he lived, we are told, that immediately after the de- 
luge, he first taught mankind the practice of agriculture: 
this is, exclusively, the history of the patriarch Noah. 

Yet we are assured, with equal clearness, that from the 
traditional character of this same patriarch, sprung a reli- 
gion of falsehood and base omens or a heathen religion, which 
was directly contrary to Christianity* Nay, the same 
deified patriarch was regarded, as the greatest God, and 
viewed as riding on the sun-beams, or personified in the great 
luminary, and operating In the clouds and meteors of 

That such a superstition should have been fabricated by 
the Bards in the middle ages of Christianity, is a supposi- 
tion utterly irreconcileable with ^obability. We must, 
therefore, regard it as a relic of the old heathen superstition 
of the country, which some individual Britons, with their 
proverbial predilection for antiquated notions and customs, 
no less impiously than absurdly retained. 


But if this be genuine British heathenism, it will he ex- 
pected, that the vestiges of it should he discovered in the 
oldest Bards, which are now extant. And here, in fact, 
they present themselves in horrid profusion. The first in- 
stances I shall produce, are taken from Aneurin's Gododin, of 
which the reader will find a translation in the fourth section 
of this Essay. 

The Bard is lamenting a dreadful massacre, which hap- 
pened in the fifth century, near a celebrated heathen tem- 
ple, which he describes in these words : • 

" It is an imperative duty to sing the complete associates, 
" the cheerful ones of the ark of the world. Hu was not 
" without his selection in the circle of the world; it was his 
" choice to have Eidiol the Harmonicus." * 

Here we find, that the selection of a priest to preside in 
this temple, was peculiarly the act and privilege of Hu, who, 
therefore, must have been the chief God, to whom the sa- 
cred building was dedicated. And, as we have already seen 
that Hu was emphatically styled Emperor of the Land and 
Seas, the world was, properly speaking, his temple. Hence 
the fabric erected to his honour, is denominated the Ark of 
the world, alluding to the vessel in which he had presided 
over the world of waters; and the circle of the world, in re- 
ference both to the form of the building, and to the circle 
in which his luminous emblem, the sun, expatiated in the 

With HUf I find a goddess associated, in the Gododin, 

* Song 24. 


by the name of KSd— the Ceto of antiquity, whom Mr. 
Bryant and Mr. Faber pionounce to be no other than Ceres 
bi Isis. 

But let us look for these divinities under other names. 

The Bard, when speaking of the same great temple, has 
the following remarkable passage. 

" A structure was not formed, so eminently perfect, so 
" great, so magnificent, for the strife of swords. In the place 
" where Morten preserved the merited fire, it cannot be denied, 
" that corpses were seen by the wearer of scaly mail, who 
*' was harnessed and armed with a piercing weapon, but co-^ 
" vered with the skin of a beast. His sword resounded on 
" the head of the chief singer of Woe and Eseye, at the 
" great stone fence of their common sanctuary. — Never more 
'• did the child of Teithan move." * 

As the Bard has infonned us, that this structure was 
sacred to the god Hu, and the goddess Ked; and as he 
now tells us, that it was the common sanctuary of Nie and 
Eseye, it must follow, that Noe and Eseye were the same 
characters as Hu and Ked. 

Here, then, we have an express authority for the assertion, 
that Hu was, originally no otlier than the great patriarch. 
Not that I suppose the heathen Britons had actually pre- 
served the name of Noah ; but that our Bard, who lived in the 
latter part of the fifth, and beginning of the sixth centuiy, 
had some knowledge of the sacrec^ records, where he found 
the name and actions of Noah; and did not want sufficient 

* Song 15. 


sagacity to discover the absolute identity of Noah and Hu, 
in history and character. Thus we find the ground-work 
of this superstition expressly ascertained. 

It may, therefore, be proper to exaaiine a little further, 
the titles and attributes which this Bard assigns to the dei- 
fied patriarch. 

In the passage before us, we find Morien preserving the 
merited fire. Whether this is a title of the god or his priest, 
or of-both, I leave others to determine. The name seems 
to be equivalent to Janm Marinus. In another place, the 
Bard ascribes the building of the temple to him. " This 
" hall would not have been made so impregnable, had not 
" Morien been equal to Caradoc." — He was also its pro- 

" Morien defended the blessed sanctuary, the basis and 
" the chief place of distribution of the source of energy, oi 
" the most powerful and the most ancient." * 

^xi the passage first cited, Hu is styled Teitfian ; for his 
chief singer is the child of Teithan ; and this name seems 
to be no other than the Titin of the Hiberno-Celtae, the 
Tydain of Taliesin and the Triads, and the Titan of anti- 
quity — a known title of the sun. 

With allusion to this divinity, Aneurin says — *< And 
" now the lofty leader, Huan, (the sun) is about to ascend : 
the sovereign most glorious — the lord of the British isle.'' f 

• Song 16. 
■i Ibid. 6. 


It scarcely needs to be remarked, that Huati is a deriva^ 
tive of Hu, to whom the sovereignty of the British Isle is 
expressly attributed, by Taliesin, 

We have seen that the ox or hull is the appropriate at- 
tribute of Hu, and accordingly, Aneurin styles his chosen 
priest, the radiant bull of battle. This is, properly, a 
title of the god himself, and conferred, as usual, upon his 
minister. But the host who fought under the conduct of 
this priest, are denominated JBiw Beli bloeddvawr, the herd 
of the roaring Beli. * Hence it appears, that Hu and Beli 
constituted but one character. Yet the latter is certainly 
the Celtic god. Belinus, mentioiied by Ausonius, and ex- 
pressly identified with Apollo, the solar divinity. 

In allusion to the sun's progress in the ecliptic, Aneurin 
styles this god, the lion of the greatest course. He has also 
the name of Budd, Victory, and Buddugre, the " god of 
" victory, the king zoho rises in light, and ascends the sky/'-f 

Hu, or his mythological son, is called Angor, the pro- 
ducer of good, the serpent who pierces the sullen ones, 
Angor implies undeviating : and this Angor has the name of 
Meiin, Marine, and is the son of Mad-ien, Bonus Janus, 
who is also called Seithenin, a little of Saturn, as I shall shew 
hereafter. Saturn and Janus are the same, and the cha- 
racter is referred by mythologists, to the patriarch Noah. 

Again it is said of the chosen priest of Hu, " The placid 
" Eidiol felt the heat of the splendid GrannawxJ'Jl. This 
title, as well as Granwyn, in the poems of Taliesin, is re- 

• Song 15. 
+ Ibid. 22. 
i Ibid. a5i 


ferabl6 to Apollo or the Sun> whose attributes are, therefore, 
ascribed to the British Hu. 

Upon the whole, it appears from this Bard, that Hu the 
• Mighty, the Diluvian god of the heathen Britons, was no 
other than the patriarch Noah, deified by his apostate de- 
scendants, and regarded by a wild superstition, as some way 
connected with the sun, or symbolized by the great lumi- 
nary of the material heavens. Hence the bull, the lion, 
the serpent, and other general emblems of the Heliodcemo- 
niac worship, became his representatives upon earth. 

But Taliesin is universally acknowledged by the Welsh, 
as the most profound teacher of their ancient superstition. 
This Bard avows himself of the order of the Druids, 
and expressly characterizes the mystical effusions of his 
musej by the name of Dawn y Derwyddon, Lore of the 
Druids, It may, therefore, be of importance to our subject, 
to consider his representation of the character of Hu. 

In the first place, then, I shall remark a few particulars, 
, in an elegy which he composed on the death of a priest of 
Hu, whom he calls Aeddon, which I think, was a title of 
the god himself. This priest had presided in Mona, as ap- 
pears from the opening of the poem.* 

" Disturbed is the isknd of the praise of Hu, the island 
" of the severe remunerator; even Mona of the gene- 
" rous bowls, which animate vigour — the island whose 
^' barrier is the Menai." 

Mona was a well-known seat of the Druids, Many have 

• Appendix, No. 10. 


regarded it as the great centre of their superstition. Yet 
this sacred spot, we find, was eminently dedicated to the 
honour of Hit, as the principal object of adoration. To 
this severe remunerator the island belonged ; and here his 
votaries quaffed the generous bowl, in his sacred festivals : 
they must, therefore, have regarded him as the god who 
presided over drinking. 

Taliesin,' one of the chief of his votaries, in the beginning 
of the sixth century, cannot be supposed to have devised, 
either the character or the honours of this god. What he 
has delivered to us, must have been what he learned from 
his predecessors in superstition ; and Hu must have been 
the great god of Mona, in the earlier ages of Druidism. 

It appears by the sequel of this poem, that the priest of 
Hu had the charge of a sacred Ark, and that Aeddon, that 
is, the god himself, had come from the land of Gwydion, 
(Hermes) into the strong island of Seon, at the time of the 
deluge, and had brought his friends safe through that dread- 
ful calamity. Here we have a curious mythological account 
of the flood, which shews, that the original history of Hu 
was purely Diluvian. 

Hu, the lord of Mona, is again styled the severe inspec- 
tor. He has the title of Buddwas, the dispenser of good, 
the dragon chief, the proprietor, and the rightful claimant 
of Britain. 

The Bard then proceeds to recite the long toil of the jud 
ones, upon the sea which had no shore, and their ultimate 
deliverance, as the reward of their integrity; where it is 
clearly intimated, that Hu, or Aeddon, was the leader of 
this righteous band. 


In another poem,* Taliesin introduces this Diluvian god 
by the name of Deon, the distributer, who had bestowed 
upon hiin, as his chief priest and vicegerent, the sovereignty. 
of Britain. In the age of our Bard, this could have been 
nothing more than conferring an empty title : but we may 
hence infer, that the chief Druid, during the high day of 
tiis authority, had claimed and exercised the power imr 
plied by this title ; and that the god who invested him with 
this high privilege, was the chief object of his homage. 

In this poem, the honours of Hu are connected with 
those of a goddess, named KSd, or Ceridwen, of whom I 
shall say more hereafter. 

We next find the ox, the attribute of Hu, stationed 
before a lake, at the time of a solemn procession: an 
eagle, another of his symbols, is carried aloft in the air, 
in the path of Gramvyn, the pervading sovereign (the 
sun). This divinity is styled Hewr Eirian, the splendid 
mover. The descriptions throughout this poem, are full of 
allusions to the deluge ; and the draining of the generous 
bowl is eminently conspicuous amongst the rites of the sa- 
cred festival. ■\ 

Another poem mentions Pen Annwvn, the ruler of the. 
deep, who is evidently the same as Hu, the emperor of the 
seas. This piece is full of the mythology of the deluge; 
and the Bard or Druid who violated his oath, after haying 
drank out of the cauldron of this ruler of the deep, was 
doomed to destruction. ;{: 

* Appendix, No. 1. 
■f Ibid. No. 2. 
% Ibid. No. 3. 


The poem called Cadair leyrn On,* brings the solar di- 
vinity, or Celtic Apollo, upon the stage : and we find, by 
the extract which I have subjoined, f that he Vas actually 
worshipped under the character of 'Fms. Yet tJiis ardent 
god boasts, that he could protect his chair of presidency 
in the midst of a general deluge. He is, therefore, the 
same character as the Diliivian Hu, or the patriarch sym- 
bolized by the sun. 

The divinity who presides in the sacred ox-stall, and is 
personified in the bull, Beer Lied, is styled the supreme 
proprietor, ai^id'has his sanctuary in an island surrounded by 
the tide. J Supreme proprietor is the title of Hu, and the 
ox or bull is his symbol. 

In the former part of the poem, called the Elegy of 
Uthr Pendragon, § that is, wonderful supreme leader, or 
Znonderful chief dragon, this god is introduced in pageantry, 
and describes himself as the god of rear, the &therial, hav- 
ing the rainbczv for his girdle. He is a protector in dark- 
ness, a ploughman, a defender of his sanctuary, and a van- 
quisher of giants. It is he who imparts to heroes a portion 
of his own prowess. He is an enchanter, and the president 
of Haeai'ndor, the vessel with the iron door, which toiled to 
the top of the hill. He was yoked as an ox, he was pa- 
tient in affliction — he became the father of all th^ tribes of 
the earth. He was a Bard and a, musician. 

Such are the impertinencies with which superstition con- 

* Appendix, No. 4. 
+ Ibid. No. 5. 
i Ibid. No. 6. 
J Ibid. No, H, 


contaminated the history and character of the venerable 

In the second part of this poeim, a sacrificing priest in- 
vokes this god with a prayer for me prosperity of Britain. 
He styles him Hu, with the expanded wings — Father, 
and King of Bards — Father D'eon, presiding in the mundane 
circle of stones. 

He is again named Prydain — the glancing Hu — the sove- 
feign of heaven— Xhe. gliding king — the dragon, and the 
victorious Belt, Lord of the Honey Island, or Britain. 

In the song called Gwawd LlMd y Mawr, the praise of 
the great leader, the Bard professes to have derived his 
mystic lore from the traditions of the distinguished Ogdoad, 
by which he means the Arkites, or eight persons who had 
been preserved in the sacred ship. This piece contains the 
mythology of the deluge, together with some pretended 
vaticinations relating to subsequent times. 

The chief of the Diluvians, and therefore //m the Mighty, 
is styled Cadrmladr, the supreme disposer of battle, and 
described as a Druid. He is attended by a spotted cow, 
which procured blessings. .On a serene day she belloreed, 1 
suppose as a warning presage of the deluge; and after- 
wards, she was boiled, or sacrificed, on May eve, the season 
in which British mythology commemorated the egress from 
the ark. The spot where she was sacrificed, afforded rest to 
the deified patriarch, who is here styled Yssadawr, the con- 
sumer or sacrificer. 

. Appendix, No. 12, 


The same personage has the name of Gwarthmor, ruler 
of the sea, Menwyd the blessed, and the dragon ruler of the 
world. He was the constructor of K^d, the ark, which 
passed the grievous waters, stored with corn, and was borne 
aloft bif serpents. 

Hence the symbolical ape, the stall of the cow, and the 
mundane rampart, or circular temple, are consecrated to the 
Diluvian god, and his vessel ; and the season of their fes- 
tive dance, is proclaimed by the cuckoo. 

The Arkite god is called th6 father of K&d, the ark, 
which is represented as an animal, I suppose Kdto?, the 
whale, investing the Bard with the sovereignty of Britain. 
We have already seen this prerogative exercised by Hit, 
the Diluvian god: Ked must therefore have acted in con- 
junction with the mystical father. 

The same god is the sovereign of boundless dominion, in 
whose presence our priest trembles before the coverings 
stone, in order to escape the quagmire of hell. 

Another poem* styles this Diluvian god the reaper, in 
allusion to the patriarch's character as a husbandman. His 
priest has the name of Aedd, a title of the god himself. 
He'had died and livefL alternately ; and it was his privilege 
to carry the ivy branch, with which, Dionysius says, the 
Britons covered themselves in celebrating the rites of 

To the particulars here recited, the mythological reader, 
if he takes the pains to peruse the^j)issages to which I 

• Appendix. No. 13. 

refer, will be able to add many circumstances equally perti- 
nent. But what I have here produced may suffice to shew, 
that our ancestors paid an idolatrous homage to a great 
patriarch, who had been preserved from a general deluge ; 
that they regarded this deified mortal as symbolized by the 
Buii, or in some manner identified with him ; and that this 
compound divinity was regarded as thjeir chief god. 

But as Caesar has informed us, that the opinion of the 
Druids corresponded in the main with that of other nations, 
respecting the nature and attributes of the Gods, it will be 
asked, with which of the gods of antiquity is this helio- 
patriarchal divinity to be identified ? 

To those who have studied mythology only in a common 
school pantheon, in the works of Homer, or in the Latin 
poets, my answer to such a question may not prove perfectly 

The mythology of the Britons was of a character some- 
,what more antique than that of the Greeks and Romans, as 
we find it in their best writers. The poets and sculptors of 
these nations refined upon Gentile superstition, and repre- 
sented each of their gods with his own appropriate figure, 
and with a character elegantly distinct : whereas the ^14 
religion of the nations contemplated the objects of adora- 
tion as referable to one history, and represented them as 
grouped in one compound body, marking the various rela- 
tions, operations, and attributes of their divinity, by a 
multitude of heads, arms, and ornaments, with which they 
graced their principal idol. Thus, the Helio-Arkite god of 
the Britons comprehended, in his own person, most of the 
gods which pertained to their superstition. 

'■ Upon this subject, I shall produce the opinion of Mr. 

" The first writers," says this great mythologist, " were 
" the poets ; and the mischief (of polytheism) began with 
" them : for they first infected tradition, and mixed it with 
" allegory and fable. The greatest abuses (says Anaxa- 
" goras, Legat.) of true knowledge came from them. I 
" insist, that we owe to Orpheus, Homer, and Hesiod, the 
." fictitious names and genealogies of the pagan daemons, 
" whom they are pleased to call gods : and I can produce 
" Herodotus to witness what I assert. He informs us 
" (L. n. c. 53.) that Homer and Hesiod were about 400 
" years before himself, and not more. These," says he, 
" were the persons who first framed the theogony of the 
" Greeks, and gave appellations to their deities, and dis- 
'■' tinguished them, according to their several ranks and de- 
" partments. They, at the same time, described them under 
" different appearances : for, till their time, there was not in 
" Greece any representation of the gods, either in sculpture 
" or painting; nor any spzcimen of the statuary's ar^ exhi- 
" bited : no such substitutes were in those times thought 
« of."* 

Again— " The blindness of the Greeks, ia regard to 
" their own theology, and to that of the countries from 
" whence they borrowed, led them to multiply the terms 
" which they had received, and to make a god out of every 
" title: But however thiy may have separated and distin- 
'f guished them under different personages, they are all 
" plainly resolvable into one deity, the sun. The same is 
" to be observed, as to the gods of the Romans."-^— 

• Analysis, V. I, p. 160. 


" There was by no means, originally, that diversity of gods 
" which is imagined, as Sir John Marsham has very justly 
" observed. Neque enim tanta woXuSeotd; Gentium, quanta 

" fuit Deorum m>.vmvii.i«," " Pluto, amongst the best 

" theologists, was esteemed thesame as Jupiter ; and indeed 

" the same as every other deity."- " Porphyry (ap. 

" Euseb.) acknowledged, that Vesta, Rhea, Ceres, Themis, 
" Priapus, Proserpine, Bacchus, Attis Adonis, Silenus, and, 
" the Satyrs, were all one and the same. Nobody had 
^' examined the theology of the ancients more deeply than 
" Porphyry : he was a determined pagan : and his evidence 
" in this point is unexceptionable." * 

To these passages I shall subjoin the following! fjCom 
Mr. Faber. " Osiris, Bacchus, Cronus, Pluto, Adonis, and 
" Hercules, taken in one point of view, as will be shewn 
" at large hereafter, are all equally the sun; but if we exa- 
" mine their respective histories, and attentively consider 
" the actions which are ascribed to them, we shall be con- 
" vinced, that in their human capacity, they can each be 
" no other than the great patriarch." ■^ 

" If the several histories of the principal deities, revered 
" by most of the ancient nations, be considered, we shall 
" find them at once allusive to the Sabian idolatry, and to 
" the catastrophe of the deluge. Thus the account which 
" is given of Osiris and Isis, if taken in one point of view, 
" directs our attention to the sun and moon; but if in 
" another, it places immediately before our eyes the great 
" patriarch, and the vessel in which he was preserved. 
" Accordingly, we learn from Plutarch, that Osiris was a 

* Analysis, V. I. p. 307, 309, 310, 316. 
+ Mysteries of the Cabiii, V. I. p. 17. 


" hnsbanclman, a legislator, and a zealous adVaCate for the 
" worship of the gods; that Typhori, or the- s?a, con* 
" spired against him, and compelled him to enter into an 
« ark/' &c * 

Such being the result of the most elaborate iaqtiiries 
which have been made into the theology of the Gentiles, I 
may be allowed to assert, that the HelicArkite god of the 
Britons was a Pantheos, who, under his several titles and 
attributes, comprehended the group of superior gods, which 
the Greeks and other refined nations separated and arranged 
as distinct personages. 

As in-oentor of the few arts with^ which the Druids were 
acquainted, and as the conductor of the primitive race to 
their respective settlements, he was their Mercury. 

As the solar divinity, and god of light, he was their Beli^ 
fxx Apollo. 

As King of Heaven, he was their Jupiter. 

As supreme, disposer of battle, he was their Marsi and as 
ruler of the waters, he was their Neptune. And thus Caesar- 
might discover, in the superstition of the Druids, all the 
gods of his own pantheon, with their distinct attributes. 

But as giver of wine and generous liquor, and as president 
of festive carousals, which is his favourite picture amongst 
the Bfirds, he was certainly that Bacchus, whose rites, ac- 
cording to pionysius, were duly celebrated in the British 
islands. Under this chai-acter, he appropriates the title of 

• Mysleiies of the Cabiti, V. I, p. 151. 


Hu, which is precisely the 'r-m, or 'r-nrof antiquity, without 
the termination. His two great symbols, the bull and th© 
dragon, so often introduced, come under the same point 
of view. 

" I haVe obsierved," says Mr. Faber, " that Bacchus, or 
" Diontisus, was one of the many titles of the Helio- 
" Arkite Noah: accordingly, in his person, the two em- 
" blems at present under consideration (the bull and the 
" dragon) will be founcj. to be eminently united. The 
" Athenians, as we learn from ^maw, worshipped him as 
" the son of Jupiter and "Proserpine. — ^Jupiter, however, 
" accomplished the rape of Proserpine, under the figure of 
" a dragon ; and Bacchus is universally described as bearing 
" some resemblance to a bull. Hence we shall see the 
" reason why, in the Bacchic mysteries, the bull was ce- 
" lebrated as the parent of the dragon, and the dragon as 
" the parent of the bull. 

" The whole history, indeed, of Bacchus, is full of al- 

" lusions to the symbols of the bull and the serpent.' 

" Thus Euripides introduces a chorus of Bacchantes, in- 
" viting him to appear in the shape of a bull, a dragon, or 
" a Hon.— — And thus the author of the Orphic hymns 
" styles him, the deity with two horns, having the head of 
" a bull, even Mars-Dionusas, reverenced in a double form, 
" and adored, in conjunction with a beautiful star. — ■ — For 
" the same reason, Plutarch inquires, why the -women of 
" Elis were accustomed to invoke Bacchus, in the words of 
** the following hymn : 

" Come, hero Dionusus, to thy holy temple on the sea 
" shore; come, heifer-footed deity, to thy sacrifice, and 


" hung the graces in thy train ! Hear us, O buU, worthy 
" of our veneration : hear us, O illustrious bull!" 

" Aft&r atjiempting to solve" this question, in a variety of 
" different ways, he concludes with asking, whether the 
" title of bull might not be given to Bacchus, on account 
" of his being the inventor and patron of agriculture." * 

It appears, then, that the bull and the dragon were 
symbols, eminently conspicuous in the worship and rites 
of Bacchus ; and it may. hence be presumed, that the very 
frequent introduction qf them in the British Bards, alludes 
to the worship of their Helio-Arkite god, considered in , 
that character. 

To the British rites of this divinity, I think the tradition, 
respecting the oxen of Hu, drawing the Avanc out of the 
lake, has a marked reference. It will therefore be proper, 
in order to catch a glimpse of those rites, to consider the 
British mythology of oxen, lakes, and islands, embosomed in 

Of all the objects of ancient superstition, there is none 
which has taken such hold of the populace of Wales, as the 
celebrated oxen of Hu. Their fame is still vigorous in every 
corner of the principality, as , far, at least, as the Welsh has maintained its ground, Few indeed pretend 
to tell us precisely, what the Ychen Banawg were, or what 
the Avanc was, which they drew out of the lake. 

Mr. Owen explains Banawg — prominent, conspicuous, not~ 
able. And tradition tells us, that the oxen, which appro- 

• MjTst. of tUe Cabiri, V, I. p. 190, ka. with the author's authoijjies. 


priated this epithet, were of an extraordijaary siie, and that 
they were subjected to the sacred yoke. I have also several 
reasons to suppose, that in Pagan Britain, some rites in 
commemoration of the deluge, and in which the agency of 
sacred oxen was employetl, were periodically celebratedj 
on the borders of several lakes. 

la Replying to a tale, which seems utterly impossible, we 
Use an old adage, which says. The Ychen Banawg cannot 
draw the Avanc out of deep waters. This imports, that they 
could draw him out of waters of a certain depth. And po- 
pular and local traditions of such an atchievement, are cur- 
rent all over Wales. There is hardly a lake in the princi- 
pality which is not asserted in the neighbourhood, to be 
that where this feat was performed. Such general traditions 
of the populace must have arisen from some ceremony, 
which was familiar to their ancestors. And this ceremony 
seems to have been performed with several heathenish rites. 
Mr. Owen tells us there is a strange piece of music, still 
known to a few persons, called Cainc yr Ychain Banawg, 
which was intended as an imitation of the lowing of the 
oxen, and the rattling of the chains, in drawmg the Avanc 
out of the lake. * 

The beasts which the Druids employed in this rite, were 
probably bulls of the finest breed which the country afforded, 
but distinguished, either by the size of their horns, or by 
some peculiar mark, and set apart for sacred use. 

^y A-vanc, we generally understand the beaver, though in 
the present instance, tradition makes it an animal of pro- 


• Wehb Eng. Pict. V. Banowj . 


digioTis bulk and force. In this druidical fable, the Avane 
seems to be, ultimately, referable to the patriarch himself, or 
to the ark, considered as his shrine, and supposed to have 
been extricated from the waters of the deluge> by the aid of 
the'saered o3fen. 

I once thought the story contained only a mythological 
allusibn to- the sacrifice of oxen offered by Noah, when he 
obtained a promise, that the waters should no more return to 
cover the earth. : And l^is idea seems to be countenanced, 
by a passage of Taliesin, already cited, and importing, that 
the diluvian patriarch- found rest- upon the spot, where the 
spotted comzoas boiled or sacr^ed. But it appears, by the va- 
rious notices respecting these oxen, and by general analogy, 
that our superstitious ancestors had some further allusions. 
Let us hear what is said of the animals, by mythologists. 

Mr. Bryant Vvas decidedly of opinion, that the bulls and 
oxen of mythology had constant reference to Noah, to the 
ark, or to the history qftlie deluge. 

" It is said' of the patriarch, after the deluge, that he 
" became an husbandman. This circumstance was reli- 
" giously recorded in all the ancient histories of Egypt. 
*' An ox so usefal in husbandry, was, I imagine upon this 
" account, made an emblem of the patriarch. Hence, upon 
". many^ pieces of ancient sculpture, are seen the ox's: head, 
" with the Egyptian modius between his horns; and not 
" only so, but the living animal was in many places, held 
" sacrid, and revered as a deit^."* j 

• Analys. V. II. p. 417. 


The author then proceeds to shew, that the sacred bulls, 
Apis and Mnevis, referred to the history of the same patriarch. 

Again — " Bulk were sacred to Osiris (who was Noah) 
" the great husbandman. They were looked upon as living 
" oracles, and real deities, and to be in a manner, ani- 
" mated by the soul of the personage, whom they repre- 
" sented."* 

" Symbolical imagery, observes Mr. Fabef, was very 
" much in use among the ancients, and will be found to 
" provide (q. pervade ?) the whole of their heterogeneous 
" mythology. A heifer seems to have been adopted, as 
" perhaps, the most usual emblem of the ark, and a ser- 
" pent as that of the sun ; while the great patriarch him- 
" self was sometimes worshipped under the form of a bull^ 
" and sometimes, in consequence of his union with the sun, 
" hieroglyphically described as a serpent, having the head of 
" a bull" t 

And this superstition comes into contact with the Celtic 
nations, and is brought near to our British ancestors. 

" With regard to the devotion of the Hyperboreans, to 
" the arliite mysterieS) we are plainly informed by Diony- 
" sius, that the rites of Bacchus, or. Noah, were duly ce- 
" lebrated in Britain. Hence arose their veneration for 
" the bull, the constant ^mbol of the deity of the ark. 

" By this god, made of brass, says Dr. Borlase, the 
" Cimbri, Tentones, and Jmbrmes, swore to observe the 

K 2 

' Analys. V. II. p. 422. 

+ Myst. of the Cabiri, V. I. p. 177, 


" articles of capitulation, granted to tlie Roman*, Vfhif 

'■' defended the Adige' against them. After their defeat, 

" Catulus ordered this bull to be carried to his own house, 

" there to remain, as the most glorious monument of his 

" victory. This god is ranked w^ith Jupiter, Esus, and 

" Vulcans being called Tareos Tiigaranui, from the three 

" cra«ei*l)erching, one on his head, one on the middle of 

" his back, and the third on his hinder parts," * 

I cannot help thinking, that the people who named this 
biill, Spoke a language very similar to our Cambro-British : 
for Tarw Trimranus is Welsh for a bull viith three cranes. 
And the idol itself seems to be connected with British su- 
perstition, as I shall shew hereafter, that the chief priest, 
who attended the arkite mysteries, was styled Garanhir, the 
lofty 'crane. Hence the three cranes may have represented 
three officiating priests. 

We have already seen, that certain oxen or bulls, were 
assigned to Hu, the Diluvian god of the Britons, as his 
ministers or attendants. 

I shall now examine- whether there are any traces of evi- 
dence in the documents left us by our ancestors, that the 
god himself was venerated under the form of this animal. 

A,hd first of all, I shall consider a few aotices, which are 
scattered ia the mytholog'ical Triads. 

tVe are here informed of three primary oxen of Britain : 
the first of which was, Melyn Gwanwyn, the yellow ox of 
the spring; the next was Gmneu, Ych Gwlwlydd, the broan 

• Mjst. of thoCabiri, V. I, p. SIO.— Ajjtiq. of CorQwall, B. 11. C. 16. 



ox, vohich stqpped the channel, and the third Ych Brych, bids 
el bearhwif, the briiidlefi ox with the thick headband.* 

The yellow ox of the spring, I make no doubt is the sign 
Taunis, into which the sun entered at the season when tlie 
Druids celebrated their great arkite mysteries. Mr. Faber 
has shpwri, that the bull of the sphere, in general mythology, 
was the god of the ark.j- And the mythology of Britain 
did not differ essentially from that of other nations. 

The ox which stopped the channel, seems to have some 
reference to the oxen pf Hu, which prevented the repeti- 
tion of the deluge. Of the third notice, I shall have oc- 
casion to speak hereafter. ;j: 

That the oxen and bulls of mythology implied the saipe 
thing, will be granted : and I find that the Triads mention 
three bulls of battle. ^ The first of them is styleA Cynvawr 
Cad Gaddug, mab Cyrniyd Cynvydion : that is, the primor- 
dial great one, of the contest of mystery, son of the prior 
world, of former- inliabitants. This elaborate title, evidently 
poiats to that personage, who was son of the antedi- 
luvians, an inhabitant of the fojmer world, and the 
great patriarch of the new. He was the bulj, Mars- 
Dionusus of the Orphic poet. And, as the great one of 
the mystery, he was no other than the Mighty IIu of the Bri- 
tons. — The introduction of Cad Gaddug into his title, brings 
forward his other great symbol. Prydydd Bychan,an eminent 
Bard of the thirteenth century, says — Dragon gyrcMad Cad 
Gaddug. The dragon repairs to tlie battle of mystery. 

• See W. Arcliaiology, V. IL p. 21 and 80. 
+ Mjst. of the Cabiri, V. 1. p. S06. 
- -J- See Appeqdix, No. 3. 

j. W. Archaiol. V. II. p. 4. 72. 7^, 


If I am not mistaken, this bull of battle is recognized topott 
some of the ancient altars remaining in Britain. The Bards 
sometimes introduce Moliyn or Moyn, for Tarw, a bull.* 
Therefore Moy« Cad is synonymous with Tarw Cad, bull 
of battle: and Camden has copied two inscriptions, Deo 
Mogonti Cad, and Deo Mouno Cad. f It should appeat 
from hence, that our bull of battle was publicly acknow- 
ledged as a god, in the ages when the Romans occupied 
Briton: and consequently, that the Helio-arkite god of thd 
Britons was venerated, under the title and form of a bull. 

The two other bulls df battle, mentioned in this Triadj 
are said to have been British princes, in the sixth century ; 
but I must observe, that the priest of the god, or the princ6 
who eminently patronizes his worship, is often dignified 
with one or other of his titles. Thus Aneurin styles the 
isolar deity, Beli Bloeddvawr, the loud roaring Beli, tliat 
is, the bull Beli, and then calls his priest. Taw Trin^ bull 
of battle. 

Again, the -Triads speak of the three bull sovereigns of 
Britain, J one of whom is named Elmur mab Cadeir. The 
frm or established spirit, son of the Chair; in another copy, 
the son of Cibddar, the Mystic. This seems to be a de- 
scription of Hu, the god of mystery. The second, a mere 
duplicate of the same personage under a different title, is 
Cynhaval mab Argat, prototype, son of the ark. This can 
be no other than the patriarch,- who issued from the ark, 
and presented the first specimen of man to the new world. 

* So Taliesin, Appendix, No. 3. 
+ Gibson's Camden Col. 1075. 
% W. Arehaiol. V. U- p. 4. l3. 76. 


The third bull sovereign was Jvaon or Adaon,' son of Tei- 
liesin; but it appears, that Avaon is one o£ the cardinal 
points in the sun's course ; and Taliesin, rkdiant front is a 
title of solar deity, though conferred on his chiefpriestl 

The mythological bulls of ifoitain, whether warriors or 
aoieereigns, still pertain to the Helio-arkite superstition. 
Let us consider their character, as DtEOTow*. - 

The three bull damons of Britain were Ellifll Gwidawl, 
the di^mon of the whirling stream; Elh/ll Uyr Merini, th« 
demon of the flowing sea; and Ellyll Gurthmwl Wledig, the 
daemon of the sovereign, of the equiponderate mass (q. the 
earth ?) * All this seems referable to him, who was acknow- 
ledged as emperor of the land and seas, and worshipped as 
chief dartion god of pagan Britain. And we are told, that 
of the three daemons which were recognized in this islandj 
the first was Ellyll Banawg : but this was the epethet of 
the oxen of Hu. To him, therefore, the symbolical bir or 
bull chiefly pertains. The other diBin%)ns, in this Triad, 
are not said to have been itt' the form of this animal. One 
of them is called Ellyll Ednyoedawg Drythyll, the dnemon 
of wanton animation, and seems to allude to a symbol which 
disgraced, even paganism itself : the last was Ellyll Mcilen, 
the dmmon Malen, the Minerva or Bollona of Britain, -f 

In these notices we And the Helio-arkite god identified 
with an ox oi\ bull, whethet as the leader in battle, as su- 
preme ruler of the landj or as the great object of daemon 
worship. It, may, therefore, be presumed that the Dluids 
adored him in the image of a bull; or that they kept the 

» W. Archaiol. V. II. p. 16. 
i I6id. V. II. p. 16, 17, 71. 


living animal rs his representative* But let us hear what 
the ancient Fards have said upon this subject. 

That Aneurin calls the Helio-arkite god the roaring belt, 
and gives his priest the title of bull of battle, has been ob- 
served. SoTaliesin, who, in the poem called Buarth Beirdd, 
the Oxpen of the Bards, or Bardic stall of the ox, professes 
to deliver the lore of his order, with superior accuracy, 
pronounces a kind of curse upon the pretended Bard, who 
was not acquainted with this sacred stall. This inclosure 
was situated in a small island, or rock, beyond the billowgi 
The rpck displayed the countenance of him who recei-ces tJie 
^exile info his sanctuary, that is, of the, deified patriarch, 
who admitted his frien4s, banished from the old world, intp 
Jlis ark. 

It was also the rock of the supreme proprietor, that is, of H^ 
the Mighty^ who is repeatedly called the supreme proprietor 
of the British islands, and the emperor of the land and seas: 
and he was evidently the Bacchus of the Britons;: for not 
to insist at present upon other proofs, we find his priests 
throughout this poem, hastening to the jolly carousal, and 
making a free indulgence in the mead feast, a principal rite 
in the worship of their god, 

If then, the sanctuary of Hu, the Helio-arkite patriarch, 
and Bacchus of the Druids, was an ax-stalf, jt must be in- 
ferred, that the god presided in his temple, either in the 
image of a. bull, or under, the representation of the living 

Accordingly, we find the priest, who gives the mead feast, 
and introduces the votaries into the temple, making procla- 
mation in the nstme of the sacred ^diftce, and of the god 


himself—" I am the cell — I am the opening chasm-i-I am 
" the Bull, Beer-Lied." This title has no meaning in the 
British language. It seems to consist of two Hebrew terms, 
implying the 6m// of J?flj»e.* And the ideaj! presented- by 
such a derivation, perfectly harmonizes with the geiier&l 
tenor of British my thology. 

For, as those oxen, which were merely the attendants and 
ministers of Hu, roared in thunder, and blazed in lightning, 
we must suppose that the supreme bull himself, had an es- 
sence still brighter, and displayed his form in the'solarjlre. 

Hu was therefore worshipped in the form of a bulL But 
this bull, tipon a great occasion, had submitted to the sacred 
yoke, and dragged the chain of affliction. 

Th"fe patriarch god, who, amongst his other titles, is ad- 
dressed by the name of Hu, thus speaks, by the mouth of 
his priest — " I was subjected to the yoke, for my affliction; 
" foul commesurate was my confidence ; the world had ho 
" existence, zeere it not for my progeny." f 

Here it seems to be implied, that our mythologists re- 
garded an ox, submitting to the yoke, as an apt symbol of 
the patriarch, in hjs fifflicted state during the deluge. And 
this, explains the meaning of the Bard, when he says of the 
Diluvian patriarch, "The heavy blue chain didst thou, 
" Ojuit ntan endure } and for the spoils of the deep (the 
" ravages of thie deluge) doleful is thy song."| 

J- T I I I - ■'■ ■ r - I I | - I m. I J l ii 

V Appendix, No. 11. 
J Jj3id, No, 3. 


la the isame poem, the Bard says of certain pefsofls, who 
were not admitted into the society of the p^ktiatch, and 
into the mysteries of his own order — " They knew not oh 
*' what day the stroke would be given, nor what hour of 
*^ the splendid day Cwy (the agitated person) would be 
" born, or who prevented his going into the dales of Devwy 
'' (the possession of the waters). They know not the brin- 
*' died ox with t^e thick head-baml, iiasing seten score knobs 
" in his collar." '•■•■, 

•This irindkd ox is the sam» tattriform god, whom tfee 
Triads mention as one of the primary oxen of Britain. A. 
few lines lower down, we have ahintj. that the Dxaids kept 
an ox as the *fepresen'te.*ive of theirgdd. The Bard says— 
*♦ They know not what animal it is, which the silver-headed 
" ones (the hoary Druids) protect." This animal must 
have been th& brindled ox mientioaed in the preceding pa- 

- Indeed,^* keeping of saored oxen seems toihave been 
essential to the ^tablishment of these fanati«il priests. 
Thus, Taliesin and Merddin are introduced, bewailing the 
^*rttcti©ft 6f their temitles- and idols in the sixth century. 

: ^' It was Maelgwti whom I saw, with piercing weapons : 
•* bUkita the Master of the fait ox^herd (tfer y vtilu), his 
" hdusehoM-wilt ndt be silent. Before the two persotiages, 
* th^ lahd in the eel^tial circle-^before the j^sing form 
" and the fix*d fditiil, 6\et the psilfe white boundary. The 
"grey stones they. actt^Jly- remove. Soon is - Jl^an (tlie 
" supremely fair) and his retinue discovered — for his slaugh-< 
" ter, alas, how great the vengeance, that ensued !" * This 

* S«e Appendix, No, 9. 

J 39 

Etgan, master oT the Fair herd, seehis to hav*been the syia* 
boi of Hu, and hte was a litifig tmimali as ajJpears froM the, 
fate which befel hitti. 

Upon' the whble, it appears diat the Helio-arkite ged 
was represented by a bull. I dd not think, hdwever, that 
he is to be' identified with the Ychain Banawg, or oxen 
which he employed in drawing the avanc otlt of the lake* 
'These animals were subjected to his control. It appears by 
a passage which I shall presently exhibit, that they were 
originally three in number ;" but that one of them failed in 
the office assigned to him and his companions, which Was, 
to draw the shrifie or car of their master in a sacred proces- 
sion. To account for the selection of these animals for this 
use, it may be observed, that as mythology represented the 
god himself as a bull, it might be • deemed meet^ that he 
should have iuittifeters of the same species. But the original 
and historical Hu, Was no other than the patriardi Noah. 
iSo his original Ychain Banawg may have had human exists- 
ence. And it ihay be conjectured that, in reality, they 
Were the three sons df the patriarch, who attended Up6n 
him, with the title of tPth*^, which implies both kadtts, 
princes, and oxen. Ahd tradition, whilst Unsophisticated, 
may have reported, that they assisted their aged father in 
his debarkation.* 

The oxen of Hu were concerned in the event of the 
deluge ; therefore, ciMifteeted with th« Arkite mythology of 
the Britons. Yet populat tiradition recites the following 
tale of them. One of these oxen overstrained himself, in 
drawing forth the avanc, so that his eyes started from their 

" And hence may have arisen the &ble of the D'SVN drawing the ghrins 
ont of the water. 


sockets, and he dropped down dead, as soon as the feat vas 
achieved. The other, pining for the loss of his companion, 
refused food, and wandered about disconsolate, till he died 
in Cardiganshire, at a place which is called Brevi, that is, 
the bellowing, from the dismal moans of the sacred animal. 
Sojne such f incident may have happened during the comme- 
morative rites of ithp.Britains; and the locaHty of the tale 
implies a probability, that this spot was sacred tp the rites 
of Hu, and his oxen. 

In this instance, as well as in man;^ others, the early 
Christians selected the sanctuary of their heathen predeces, 
sons, for. the place of a religious ^stabUshment. Perhaps 
this was done with the view of diverting the attention of the 
people from the objects of idolatrous superstition, which 
they had been used ,tp contemplate in those places; but it 
had generally a contrary effect. Dewi, first Bishop of St, 
David's, founded a church and a religious seminary at 
Brevi. But so far was this from obliterating the memory 
of the old superstition, that th« history of the Christian 
bishop seems to have been confounded with that of a hear 
theja god ; and the Bards transferred to him the mytholo- 
gical oxen of the votajies of Hu. Thus Qwynvafdd Brer 
cheiniog, a Bard who wrqte in the former part of the twelftlj 

Deu ychen Pewi deu odidawc 
, Dodyssant hwy eu gwarr dan garr kynawe. 
Deu ychen Dewi arterchaw<!— oetynt. 
Deu gam a gertynt yn gyd preinyawc : ■ 
I hebrwng anrec yn redegawc 
Y liasgwm, nyd oet trwm tri urtassawc. 
Edewid Bangu gu gadwynawc ; 
A'r deu ereiU ureisc y Vrycheinyawc, 


Ban del gofyii arnam ny ryby twA ofnawC 
Rac gormes kedeirnHfcad dybiunawc. 
Ar Duw a Dewi deu niuerawc 
Yd galvvn bressen bressvvyl uodawc- 

" The two oxen of Dewi, two of distinguislied lionour, 
" put their necks under the car of the lofty one. The two 
" oxeii of Dewi, majestic were they. ^ With equal ■ pace 
" they moved to the festival. When they hastened, in con- 
" ducting the sacred boon to Glascwm (the green valley), the 
" THREE dignified ones %vere not sluggish. The amiable 
" JBa>^2( was left behind, bearing his ehain; and the two 
" others, with their huge bulk, arrived in Brechinia. We 
** shall not be terrified for the intrusion of the mighty ones, 
" meritorious in battle. Let us call upbn God and Dewi, 
" the two leaders of hosts, who, at this hoar. Willingly so- 
" journ amongst us." 

Throughout this curious poem, which is of considerable 
length, the Bard intermi^rfs a large proportion of mytholo- 
gical imagery and description, with the popish lefgends of 
Dewi. We need not, then, be surprised, that he assigns 
to his patron saint those celebrated oxen, which were the 
ascertained property of Hit, to whom all that is said in the 
passage before us must be referred. Here, then, we may 
remark the following particulars of the Ychain Banawg, 
They were, originally, three in number, but, by the failure 
of one, reduced to a pair. Their office, in the commemo- 
rative ceremony of the Britons, was to draw the car o/" the 
lefty one, or of Hii, the patriarch god, to whom the oxen 
were consecratfed in solemn procession. And if this was 
the meaning of the memorial, the avanc of mythology, 
which the sacred oxen drew out of the lake, and which gave 


rise to the ceremony, must imply the identical sftrine, of 
vehicle; which inclosed the Dilmuian patriarch 

Such ceremonies were not peculiar to the Britons ; and, 
perhaps, did not originate in these islands. Mr. Faber has 
proved, by just reasoning, that the Phoenician Agruemsy 
the patron of agriculture, was no other than the deified 
patriarch 'Noah. But, as the author observes—" Sancho- 
" Qiatho informs us, that his statue was greatly revered by 
" the Phcenicians,, that his shrine was drami from place to 
" place hy, a yoke of oxen, and that, amongst the Byblians, 
" he was esteemed even the greatest df gods !"* 

Here we have the avane, and the Yehain Banawg of Hu 
Gadam; but the Phoenician historian does not teU us, that 
this shrine was drawn out of a lake, which was an essential 
circumstance in the mythology of the Britons. It may 
therefore be proper to consider their opinion concerning 
certain lakes, and the phsBnomena which they presented. 

The Druids represented the deluge under the figure of a 
lake, called lAyn Idion, the waters of which burst forth, 
and overwhelmed the face of the whcJe earth. Hence they 
regiarded a lake as the just symbol of the deluge. But the 
deluge itself was viewed, not merely as an instrument of 
punishment to destroy the wicked inhabitants of the gk)be, 
but also as a divine lustration, which washed away the bane 
qf corruption, aijd purified the earth for the reception of 
the jt(st ones, or of the deified patriarch and his family' 
Consequently, it was deemed peculiarly sacred, and com- 
municated its ddstingjujshing character to those lakes and 
b?iya, by which it was loeaJly represented. 

'■■ ■ " III ■ .- ! ■ ■>■ ■ i J I I m im I Hi 

* See Myst. of thetJabiri, V. I. p. 35, 43, 45, &c. 


As. a relict of this superstition of our ancestors, I may 
adduce the najnes of certB^Q: lakes ajuongst the Camhrian 
mountains; as, lilyn C^ini, the lake of adoration, upon 
Cevn Creini,^ the hill of cidoration : and Llj/n Urddyn^ the 
lake of consecration, in Meirionethshire ; and Llyn Gwydd 
lor, the lake of the grow of, Mr, or God, in Montgomeiy- 
shire.* ,Such names evidently imply, that some religious 
id^as were anciently conneetedi with these lakes. And that 
this kind of superstition was prevalent amongst the ancient 
Druids, may be inferred from the testimony of Gildas, 
who informs us that they worshipped mountains and rivers.f 

And, that the veneration for lakes was referable to the 
deluge, appears from the Welsh chronicles of Walter de 
Mopes, and Geoffrey of Monmouth. These writers, in the 
mass of thjeir romance, involve a fevr genuine nattonat tradi- 
tions ;. which they would fain pass upon the world for sober 
history. Thys. they introduce Arthn?, as ^yingr— r*4 There 
" is a lake, near the Severn, chilled Llyn Llion, whicl^ swal- 
" lows all the water that flows into it at the tide of flood, 
" without any visible increase : but at the tide of ebb, it 
"swells up like a mountain, and pour^ its, waters over the 
" banks, so that wh<iev;er stands near it- at this timei mttsS 
*.' run the risk of being overwhelmed .";}: 

The Llyn Llion of these writers preserves the name, of 
that mythological lake, which, occasioned the ql^lttge; of 
which it was, therefore, a local symbol. The peculiarity 
here assigned to it, ni^^y allude to some, suph a*tura)j phe- 
nomenon as the Hygre, ox- S^ern)B,oav; a, Y^gh and lioiar- 

" See Camb. Reg. V. I. p. 302, 370. 

+ See Dr. Borlase's Antiq. of Cornwall, p. 110. 

i W. Arehaiol. V. II. p. 309. 


ing surge, which leads the flood to the inland parts of the 
channel, whilst the river is actually ehbing in its sestuary. 
This circumstance the Druida^may have remarked, and im* 
proved upon it, for the purposes of superstition. 

The reference of the sacred lakes of the Britons to the 
deluge, is so clear in the mystical poems, that I need not 
cite particulaa* passages. The reader is referred to the Ap» 
peadix in general. 

And -not only the Britons, but the continental Celtse also, 
are remarked in history for their superstitious veneration of 

Straho says, that the Gauls consecrated their gold in 
certain lakes; and adds, that lakes furnished them with 
their most inviolate sanctuaries. Mo'ura ^ avm; m Atftieu nt* 
^lK^B^l«» ffxp/of. Here we must understand, certain islets, or 
rafts, inclosed within these lakes; as vrill be seen in th« 

We also learn from Justin, that in a time of public cala- 
mity, the priests of the Gauls, that is, the Druids, declared 
to the people, that they should not be free from the pesti- 
lential distemper which then raged among them, till they 
should have dipped the gold and silver, gotten by war and 
sacrilege, in the lake of Thoulouse.* 

Hence the author of Rel. des Gaules supposes, that the 
Gauls of Thoulouse had no other temple than a sacred 

• Lib. XXXII. c. 3. 


The same author presents us with this curious account— 

" Many persons resorted to a lake, at the foot of the 
" Gevaudan njountain, consecrated to the moon, under the 
" name of Helartus, and thither Cast in, some, the human 
" habits, linen, cloth, and entire fleeces ; others cast in 
" cheese, wax, bread, and other things, £very one according 
" to his ability ; then sacrificed animals, and feasted for 
" three days." * 

This seems to be perfectly consonant with British super- 
stition, in regard to the Dlluvian lakes. 

But the deluge overwhelmed the world, and this catas- 
trophe was figured out in the traditional history of several of 
our sacred lakes^ 

The annotator upon Camden mentions the names of six 
lakes, in which ancient cities are reported to have been 
drowned, f 

I could add several others to this list, but I observe, that 
tradition generally adds, that some person or spiall family 
escaped upon a piece of timber, or by other means.— 
Though I think it improbable that such, submersions actu- 
ally happened, I refer the tales in which they aje reported, 
to those lessons which our ancestors learned from their 
heathen instructors, whilst inculcating the mythology of the 
tJeluge. . ^ 

The principal lake mentioned by our author is Liyn Sa- 


* V. I- p. 114r-128. 

+ Gibson's Camdeo Col, 7Q6, 


vaddan, in Brecknockshire. The old story of its foima- 
tion is not totally forgotten. I recollect some of its inci- 
dents, as related by an old man in the town of Hay. 

" The scite of the present lake was formerly occupied by 
" a large city ; but the inhabitants were reported to be very 
*' wicked. The king of the country sent his servant to ex- 
" amine into the truth of this rumour, adding a threat, that 
" in case it should prove to be well founded, he would de- 
" stroy the place, as an example to his other subjects. The 
" minister arrived at the town in the evening. All the in- 
" habitants were engaged in riotous festivity, and wallow- 
" ing in excess. Not one of them regarded the stranger, or 
" offered him the rites of hospitality. At last, he saw the 
" open door of a mean habitation, into which he entered. 
" The family had deserted it to repair to the scene of tumult, 
" all but one infant, who lay weeping in the cradle. The 
" royal favourite sat down by the side of this cradle, soothed 
" the little innocent, and was grieved at the thought, that 
" he must perish in the destruction of his abandoned neigh- 
" hours. In this situation the stranger passed the night; 
" and whilst he \\as diverting the child, he accidently 
" dropped his glove into the cradle. The next morning he 
" departed before it was light, to carry his melancholy 
" tidings to the king. 

" He had but just left the town when he heard a noise 
"behind him, like a tremendous crack of thunder mixed 
" with dismal shrieks and lamentations. He stopped 
" to listen. Now it sounded like the dashinar of waves : 
" and presently all was dead silence. He could not see 
" what had happened, as it was still dark, and he felt 
" no inclination ta return into the city : so he pursued his 
" journey till sunrise. The mornmg was cold. He searched 
" for his gloves, and finding but one of them, he presently 



" recollected where he had left the other. These gloves 
" had been a present from his sovereign. He determined 
" to return for that which he had left behind. When he 
" was come hear td the scite of the town, he observed with 
surprize, that none of the buildings prasented tliemselves 
to his view, as on the preceding day. He proceeded a 
" ffew steps — The whole plain was covered with a lake. 
" Whilst he was gazing at this novel and terrific scene, he 
" remarked a little spot in the middle of the waler : the wind 
" gently wafted it towards the bank where he stood; as it 
" drew near, he recognized the identical cradle in which he 
*' had left his glove. His joy on receiving this pledge of 
" royal favour was only heightened by the discovery, that 
" the little object of his compassion had reached the shore 
" alive and unhurt. He carried the infant to the king, and 
" told his majesty, that this was all which he had been 
" able to save out of that wretched place." 

This little narrative evidently contains the substance of 
one of those tales, which we call Mabinogion, that is, tales 
for the instruction of youth, in the pririciples of Bardic my- 
thology. And it seems to have for its object, a local and im- 
pressive commemoration of the d^fuction of a profligate 
race, by the waters of the delu^. ^ 

Such traditions of the submersion of cities, in the lakes 
of the country, or of populous districts, by the intrusion of 
the sea, are current all over Wales. They were not unfre- 
quent in other heathenish countries ; and I observe, Mr. 
Faber unifoi=mly refers them to the history of the deluge. 

Thus " Phlegyas and his children, the PhlegyJE, were said 
" to have come from the knd of Minyas, and in the pride 
" of their heart, tp have quitted the city of the Otchome- 


" nians or Arkites. This desertion from the Miiiyse of 
" Noachidte, proved the cause of their destruction ; for it 
" was in reality, the separation of the antediluvian giants, 
" or Titans, from the family of Noah. They refused to 
" ilnitate the piety of that patriarch, and were consequently 
" excluded from the ark hy their own wickedness. Accord- 
" ingly Nonnus represents them as being overwhelmed by 
" Neptune, with the waters of the ocean, 

" From its deep rooted base, the Phlegyan isle 

" Stern Neptune shook, and plung'd beneath the waves, 

" Its impious inliabitants."* 

" I am persuaded, says our author, that the tradition of 
" the sinking of the Phlegyan isle, is the very same as that 
" of the sinking of the island Atlantis. They both appear 
" to me to allude to one great event, the sinking of the old 
" world beneath the waters of the deluge, or if we suppose 
" the arch of the earth to have remained in its original po- 
" sition, the rising of the central waters above it. — The 
" force of truth leads him (M. Baily) unguardedly to main- 
" tain, for he doubtless did not perceive the consequences 
" of such a position, that the Atlantians were the same as 
" the Titans and the giants ; and he even cites an ancient 
" tradition, preserved by Cosmas Indico-Pleustes, that Noah 
" formerly inhabited the island Atlantis ; but that, at the 
" time of the deluge, he was carried in an ark to that con- 
" tinent, which has ever since been occupied by his poste- 
rity. These particulars unequivocally point out to us, 
" the proper mode of explaining the histojy of the At- 
" lantians."t 


• See Myst. of the Cabiri, V. I. p. 387, with the anthor's authoriUes. 
t Ibid V. II. p. 283, 


As a further elucidation of our prevalent traditions, of 
the submersion of cities and regions, I must take the liberty 
to transcribe the following curious passage. 

"As the sinking of the Phlegyan isle, and the submersion 
" of the island Atlantis, equally relate to the events of the 
" flood ; so the Chinese have preserved a precisely similar 
" tradition, respecting the preservation of the pious Peiruun, 
" and the fate of the island Maurigasima, the Atlantis of 
" the eastern world. 

" Maurigasima, says Koempfer, was an island famous in 
*' former ages, for the excellency and fruitfulness of its soil, 
" which afforded among the rest, a particular clay, exceed- 
" ingly proper for the making of those vessels, which now go 
" by the name of Porcelain, or China ware. The inhabitants 
" very mUch enriched themselves by the manufacture ; but 
" their increasing wealth gave birth to luxury and contempt 
" of religion, which incensed the gods to that degree, that 
" by an irrevocable decree, they determined to sink the 
" whole island. However, the then reigning king [and so- 
" vereign of the island, whose name was Peiruun, being a 
" very virtuous and religious prince, no ways guilty of the 
"crimes of his subjects, this decree of the gods was re- 
" vealed to him in a dream ; wherein he was commanded, 
" as he valued the security of his person, to retire on board 
" his ships, and to flee from the island, as soon as he should 
" observe, that the faces of the two idols which stood at the 
" entry of the temple turned red, So pressing a danger, 
" impending over the heads of his subjects, and the signs 
" whereby they might know its approach, in order to save 
" their lives by a speedy flight, he caused forthwith to be 
" made public ; but he was only ridiculed for his zeal and 
«' care, and grew contemptible to his su^bjects, Some time 


" after, a loose idle fellow, further to expose the king's su- 
" perstitious fears, went one night, nobody observing hiin> 
" and painted the faces of both idols red. The next morn- 
" ing notice was given to the king, that the idols' faces 
" were red : upon which, little imagining it to be done by 
" such wicked hands, but looking upon it as a miraculous 
" event, and undoubted sign of the island's destruction 
" being now at hand ; he went forthwith on board his ships 
" with his family, and all that would follow him ; and with 
" crowded sails, hastened from the fatal shores, towards the 
" coasts of the province Foktsju, in China. After the 
" king's departure, the island sunk ; and the scoffer, with 
" his accomplices, not apprehensive that their frolic would 
" be attended with so dangerous a consequence, were swal- 
" lowed up by the waves, with all the unfaithful that re- 
" mained in the island, and an immense quantity of por- 
" celain ware. 

" The king and his people got safe to China, where the 
" memory of his arrival is still celebrated by a yearly fes- 
" tival, on which the Chinese, particularly the inhabitants 
" of the southern maritime provinces, divert themselves on 
" the water, rowing up and down in their boats, as if they 
" were preparing for a flight, and sometimes crying with a 
" loud voice, Peirmm, which was the name of that prince. 
" The same festival hath been, by the Chinese, intro- 
" duced into Japan ; and is now celebrated there, chiefly 
" upon the western coasts of this empire." 

" It is easy to see, continues Mr. Faber, that this tradi- 
" tion, respecting the island Maurigasima, is a mere adap- 
" tation of the fable of the Atlantis, to the manners and 
" habits of the Chinese. The same local appropriation 
" which fixed the one i^sland in the western, fixed the other 


", in the eastern' ocean ; and, while the Greeks and Phceni- 
" cians worshipped the great solar patriarch, under the 
" name of Atlas; the Chinese revered the common proge- 
" nitor of mankind, under the title of Peiruun, or P'Arun' 
" the Jrkite." * 

To the same general conclusion, to which Mr, Faber is 
led by a view of universal mythology, I had arrived by the 
contemplation of British tradition. This coincidence fur- 
nishes a presumption, that we are both right, and that these 
local tales of people so widely separated in time and situa- 
tion, must allude to some great event, in which the ances- 
tors of all nations were conceriied. This event could be no 
other than the deluge. 

And as the tales of the submersion of towns and province^, 
presented our rude ancestors with local commemorations of 
the destruction of mankind, by the deluge; so, on the other 
hand, we find the country full of tradition, which must be 
referred to the preservation of the patriarch and his family 
through the midst of that awful calamity. To this class 
pertain the rivers which are represented as passing uncor- 
rupted and unmixed through the waters of certain lakes. 
Let it suffice to mention two instance's, 

Camden, speaking of Lli/n Sataddan, already described, 
says — ■ 

" Lkazeeni, a small river, having entered this lake, still 
" retains its own colour, and as it were, disdaining a mix- 

• Myst. of the Cabiri, V. 11, p. 289, from Kcempfer's Japan, Appendix, 
f>. 13. 


" t}ire, is tjiought to carry out no more, nor other wat€l^ 
" than what it brought in."* 

Again, " In the East part of the county (Meirioneth) 
*' the river Dee springs from two fountains. — This river, 
" after a very short course, is said to pass entire and nn-t 
*' mixed, through a large lake, called Llyn Tegid, in Eng- 
f lish, Pemble Mear — carrying out the same quantity of 
*' water that it brought in."f ' 

As the lakes themselves were symbols of the deluge, so 
these incorniptible rivers were the stream of life, which 
passed, whole and uninjured, through those destructive 

Here it is to be remarked, that the fountains of the Dee 
are distinguished by the names of Dreyvawr, and Dwyvach ; 
and these are the very names of the mythological pair al- 
ready mentioned, who were preserved in the sacred ship 
when the lake burst forth and drowned the world. Hence 
it must be inferred, that these united and immaculate 
streams, were regarded as symbol? of those distinguished 
personages. Such are the sacred rivers reported by Gildas, 
\o have been worshipped by the Pagan Britons. 

The honours of the Dee may be inferred, not only from 
the consecrated spots and tem'^lps which ailom its banks, 
but from its very names. It was callpd Dyvrdrpy, the di- 
vine ^a^er; Puvrdonwt/f the water conferring virtue or grace; 

* Gibsons's Camden, Col. 706. 
t |bid. Col. 791. 


and^ Peryddon, a divine stream, or, the stream of the great 
causes or commanders.* 

Tfie Dee was then [worshipped as the image of the 
deified patriarch, and his supposed consort. Nor were even 
these conceits peculiar to our Celtic ancestors. Mr. Faber 
has shewn by a variety of arguments and deductions, that 
Styx, the river or lake of helij^-iifce our British lakes, was a 
personification of the flood, -f 

" Accordingly, adds our author, the Sholiast upon Hesiod 
" declares, that Styx was the T^ter which proceeded from 
" the lowest parts of the earth, and occasioned the ph<Enome- 
*' non of the rainbow." This passage brings to view the great 
deep, and the sacred sign given to Noah upon the subsiding 
I of the deluge. Yet Homer records a tale of the Titaresius, 
a stream which flows forth from the Styx, prppisel^ anar 
legous to the British mythology of the Dee. 

" Or where the pleasing Titaresius glides, 

'' And into Peneus, rolls his easy tides ; 

'' Yet o'er the siher surface, pure they flow, 

" The sacred stream, unmixed with streams below, 

" Sacred and awful ! from the dark abodes 

'' Styx pours tliem forth, the dreadful oath of gods."J 

This aenigma being precisely the same in Greece and 
Britain, it is probable, that if it were duly ^investigated, it 
would be found to admit of the same solution. 

* See Owen's Diet. V. Bonwy, Dyvrdwy, Ptrj/dd, and Perydden, 
t Myst. of the Cabiri, V. I. p. 259, &e. 
f Iliadf B, II. Fope'f translation. 


But I must go on to consider another circumstance of 
tradition, connected with the lakes and bays of Britain ; 
and by which our ancestors commemorated the vessel in 
which their deified patriarch overcame the deluge. 

This vessel is denominated a caer, that is, s^ fenced in-! 

closure, and the same caer is described as an island.* Hence 
the sanctuaries of the Druids, which were intended as re- 
presentatives of this prototype, are often styled caers and 
islands, and were frequently constructed within small is- 
lands, which were considered as having once floated upon 
the surface of the water. And where these were wanting, 
our hierophants seem to have con^ructed a kind of rafts or 
floats, in imitation of such islands. 


Thus the British Apollo, speaking through his priest, 
asks the names of the three ca^rs, between the high and 
the low water mark, and boasts, that in case of a general 
deluge, he would preserve his seat of presidency safe and in- 
violate : intimating, that the sacred \pot would mount on 
the surface of the w^aters. f Such is the representation 
which we have of the great sanctuary of Sidi. — 

" The inundation will surround us, the chief priests of 
" Ked : yet complete is my chair, in Caer Sidi, neither dis- 
" order nor age will oppress him that is within it.— Three 
" loud strains, round the fire, will be sung before it, whilst 
" the currenl|r of the sea are round its borders, and the co- 
" pious fountain is open from abov«." j 

• Appendix, No. 3. 
+ Ibid. No. 4. 
i Ihid. No. 1. 


Taliesin describes his holy sanctuary as wandering about 
from place to place. He first mentions it, as being upon 
the surface of the ocean: the billows assail it, and with speed 
it removes before them. It now appears on the zsjide lake, 
as a city not protected with walls; the sea surrounds it. 
Again we perceive it on the ninth wave, and presently it is 
arrived within the gulph, or bend of the shore ; there it lifts 
itself on high, and at last, fixes on the margin of the flood. 
After all, it appears that this holy sanctuary was nothing 
morethan the Httle island of DmJycA, in Dyved, or that in- 
sulated spot, upon which the town of Tenby, in Pembroke- 
shire, stands at present. ^ 

What can all this mean, unless it be, that this was"a 
sacred island of the Druids, and that it was congenial to 
their arkite mythology, to devise the fable, that it had once 
floated on the surface of the ocean ? 

In the mountains near Brecknock, there is a small lake, 
to which tradition assigns some of the properties of the fa- 
bulous Avemus. I recollect a Mabinogi, or mythological 
tale, respecting this piece of water, which seems to imply, 
that it had once a floating raft, for here is no island. 

" In ancient times, it is said, a door in a rock near this 
" lake, was found open upon a certain day every year. 
" I think it was May day. Those who had the curiosity and 
" resolution to enter, were conducted by a secret passage, 
" which terminated in a small island, in the centre of the 
" lake. Here tjie visitors were surprized with the prospect 
" of a most enchanting garden, stored with the choicest 

• Appendix, No. 2. 

156 . 

" fruits and flowers, and inhabited by the TylwythTig, or 
" fair family, a kind of fairies, whose beauty could be 
" equalled only by the courtesy and aifability which they 
" exhibited to those who pleased them. They gathered fruit 
" and flowers for each of their guests, entertained them 
" with the most exquisite music, disclosed to them many 
*' events of futurity, and invited them to stay, as long as 
" they should find their situation agfeeable. But the 
" island was sacred, and nothing of its produce must be 
♦' carried away," 

*' The whole of this scene was invisible to those who 
" stood without the margin of the lake. Only an indis- 
" tinct mass was seen in the middle ; and it was observed, 
" that no bird would fly over the water, and that a soft 
<' strain of music, at times, breathed with rapturous sweet- 
" ness in the breeie of the mountain, 

" It happened upon one of these annual visits, tliat a 
" sacrilegious wretch, when he was about to leave the gar- 
" den, put a flower, with which he had been presented, 
*' into his pocket ; but the theft boded him no good. As 
" soon as he had touched unhallowed ground, the flour va^ 
" nished, and he lost his senses. 

" Of this injury, the fair family took no notice at the 
" time. They dismissed their guests with theix accustomed 

courtesy, and the door was closed as usual. But their 
" resentment ran high. For though, as the tale goes, ihe 
" Tylwyth Teg and their garden undoubtedly occupy the 
" spot to this day — though the birds still keep at a re- 
*' spectful distance from the lake, and solne broken strains 
" of music are still heard at times, yet the door which kd 
" to the island has never re-appeared ; and, from the date 



" of this sacrilegious act, the Cymry have beau unfor-» 
" tunate." 

It is added, that " Some time after this, an adventurous 
" person attempted to draw off the water, in order to dis- 
". cover its contents, when a terrific form arose from the 
" midst of the lake, commanding him to desist, or otherr 
" wise he would drown the country." 

I have endeavoured to render this tale tolerable, by com- 
pressing its language, without altering or adding, to its cir- 
cumstances. Its connection with British mythology may 
be inferred, from a passage of Taliesin, where he says, that 
the deluge was presaged by the Druid, who earnestly at- 
tended, in the aethereal temple of Geirionydd, to the songs 
that were chaunted by the Cwyllion, children of |;he even- 
ing, in the bosoms of lakes.* 

The floating island of this lake was evidently an Arkite 

Giraldus Cambrensis, speaking of the lakes amongst the 
mowjitains of Snowdon, mentions one which was remark- 
able for a wandering island, concerning which some tradi-, 
tional stories were related. Camden thinks this lake is to 
be recognized in " A small pond, called Llyn y Dyzoarchen 
" (i. e. Lacus C^spitis), from a little green moveable patch, 
" which is all the occasion of the fable of the wandering 
", island." t 

This great antiquary was but little inquisitive, as to the 

• Appendix,. No. 12. 

t Gibson's Camden Col, 797. 


nature and tendency of popular tradition; otherwise he 
would have recorded some curious particulars of the islands 
in the celebrated lake of Lomond. He only observes, that 
" It hath several islands in it, concerning which there are 
" many traditional stories amongst the ordinary sort of 
" people. As for the floating island here, I shall not call 
" the truth of it in question ; for what should hinder a 
" body from swimming, that is dry and hollow, like a pin- 
" nace, and very light ? And so Pliny tells us, that certain 
" green islands, covered with reeds and rushes, float up and 
" down in the lake of Vadimon"* 

Pliny's description of th? lake of Vadimon is minute and 
curious. Many incredible stories were told of it ; but the 
following particulars, amongst others, he observed as an eye 

The lake is perfectly round, the banks even, regular, and 
of equal height ; so that it appears as if scooped out, and 
formed by the hand of an artist. The water is of a 
bluish or greenish colour, it smells of sulphur, and has the 
quality of consolidating things that had been broken. 
There is no vessel upon this lake, because it is sacred; but it 
has several fertile, wandering islands, of equal height and 
lightnfess, and formed like the keels or hulks of ships. 

Th6 same lake sends forth a stream, which, after flowing, 
a short Space, is butied in a cave, and runs deep Imder the 
earth. If any thing is cast into this stream, before it en- 
ters the cave, it is carried forth to the place where it re- 
appears. •]- 

•. Gibson's Camden Col. l2ir. 
+ Plin. L. VIII. Epist. 20. 


As this lake of Vadimon, or Vandimon, with its floating 
islands, was sacred, there can be little doubt, that it waS 
accommodated by art to the commemoration of Arkite 
superstition ; and consecrated to the Etruscan Janus, whose 
-name it bore. But this divinity, as we are informed by a 
very curious relic of Etrusqan antiquity, was no other than 
the Noah of Scripture. 

Magnus pater Vandimon, qui a Latinis Janus, a Syris 
"Noa vocatur, advenit in banc regionem (scil. Hetruriam) 
Gum secundo filio Japeto, et illius filiis ; et cum venissent 
super hunc montem, sibi commodum, posteris jucundum 
putavit. Quare, in superior! parte, quae salubrior esset, 
eivitatem aedificavit, et Gethtm appellavit, f 

The arrival of Noah in Italy, is probably as fabulous as 
the settlement of Hu in Britain ; but gods and deified per- 
sons are generally represented as having settled in those 
places, where their worship was established. All I would 
infer from the testimony of Pliny, Gbauected with this pas- 
sage, is, that the Helio-arkite patriarch was commemorated 
in his sacred lakes and floating islands in Italy, as well as 
in Britain ; and consequently, that the tales of the Britons, 
respecting such lakes and islands, are authentically derived 
from heathen mythology. 

And such floating islands, or rafts, substituted for islands, 
seem to have been generally viewed as symbols of the ark. 

Mr. Faber remarks, that " Herodotus mentions a deep 
" and broad lake, near Buto, in which, according to the 
" Egyptians, there was a floating island. On this island 

* Ingliir. Apudr Annot. ad Lactam, de Fal. Rel. L|. 1. cap. 13. 



" was a krgfe temple, dedicated to Apollo, and fumishecl 
" with three altars. It was not supposed, however, to have! 
** bedn always in a floating state, but to have lost its ori- 
" ginal firmness, in consequence of thei following circum- 
stance. When Typhon, or the ocean, was roaming 
"through the world, in (Juest of Horus, or Apollo, the 
" mythological son of Osiris, Latona, who was one of the 
" primitive eight gods, and who dwelt in the city Buto, 
" having received him in trust from Isis, concealed him 
" from the rage of that destructive monster in this sacred 

" island, which then first began to float," * " As for 

" the floating island mentioned- by Herodotus," continues 
Mr. Faber, " it was probably only a large raft, constructed 
" in imitation of the ark ; while Horus, whose temple was 
" built upon it, was the same person as his supposed father 
" Osiris, or Noah, worshipped in conjunction with the 
" sun." 

" Again : " This mode of representing the ark by a float- 
" ing island, was not exclusively confined to Egypt. As 
" Latona and Apollo were two of the great gods wor- 
" shipped at Buto, so we find the same traditions prevalent 
" at Delos, both with respect to its having once been a 
" floating island, and to the various dangers by which 
" Latona was assailed, "-f 

Delos, any more than our Dinbych, never wandered but 
in fable ; and that, for the same reason, because it was con- 
secrate4 to the Helio-arkite god ; who, in his human capa- 
city, had. wandered upon the face of the deluge. 

"^ — . — 1 

• Myst. of the dabiii, V. I. p. 61. From Herodot. L. II. c. 156. 

t lb. p. 64. Se« also the lake and floating island of Cotjle in Italy, 
p. 65, &c. 

The same author adduces many more instances in the 
course of his work, and then remarks in general. — " All 
" these lakes contained small sacred islands, which seem to 
" have been considered as emblematical of the ark ; whence 
*' those in the lakes of Buto and Cotyle, were supposed to 
" have once floated."* Thus he solves the problem of M. 
** Bailly, who, noticing the extreme veneration of the an- 
cients for islands, demands — f " Ne trouvez-vous pas, 
*' Monsieur, qu'elque chose de singulier, dans cet amour 
" des anciens pour les isles ? Tout ce qu'il y a de sacr6, de 
" grand, et d'antique s'y est passe : pourquoi les habitans 
" du continent ont-ils donne cet avantage aux isles, sur le 
** continent memei"'J 

But the sacred islands of the Druids are not always to be 
regarded as merely symbolical of the ark. I find that cer- 
tain islands, and rocky promontories, whether in the sacred 
lakes, sestuaries of rivers, or bays of the sea, represented 
the mount upon which the deified patriarch landed, from 
the waters of the deluge. 

This factls particularly evident, in the story of Gwydd- 
naw Garanhir, the lofty crane, priest of the ship, a hiero- 
phant, whose office it was to conduct the noviciates through 
a scenic representation of the patriarch's adventures. To 
this end, he inclosed the persons to be initiated in coracles, 
covered with the skins of beasts,' launched them from the 


* V. II. p. 4S9. n. 

+ " Does it not appear to you. Sir, that tliere is something singular in this 
" -partiality of the ancients to isionds ? In these, whatever is sacred, great, or 
" ancient has constantly occurred, why have the inhabitants of the continent 
'' given isJonds this advantage over the continent itself?" 

♦ tettves sur I'AtlantiiJe, p. 361, 


shore in Cardigan bay, and, after they had weathered the 
mimic deluge, received them safe upon a reef of rocks, I 
suppose, Sam Badrig, or Patrick's Causeway, which repre- 
sented the landing-place of the patriarch. 

In a curious poeni, which I shall have occasion to insert 
in the next section, this scene is presented to view. The 
probationer standing upon the shore, and about to enter the 
mystic coracle, but observing that the waves were rough, 
and the rock at a considerable distance, exclaims — 

" Though I love the sea beach, I dread the open sea ; a 
" billow may come, undulating over the stone." 

To this the hierophant replies— 

" To the brave, to the magnanimous, to the amiable, to 
the generous, who boldly embarks, the landing-stone of 
" the Bards will prove the harbour of life: it has asserted 
" the praise of Heilyn, the mysterious impeller of the 
sky ; and till the doom shall its symbol be continued." 



As this ^cene was to typify the passage through the de- 
luge, it is evident, that the landing~stone which terminated 
that passage, and proved a- harbour of life, stood for the 
rock or mount upon which the patriarch arrived safe, from 
the midst of the waters ; the same upon which he built the 
altar, and obtained the gracious promise, that the deluge 
should return no more. The Druids then regarded certain 
islands, or rocks, contiguous to the water, as symbols of 
this mount. 

In this sense, I regard the sacred rock which inclosed the 



^all of the ox*. — " Boldly swells the stream to its high 
" limit — let the rock beyond the billow be set in order at the 
" dawn, displaying the countenance pf him who receives 
" the exile into his sanctuary — the rock of the supteme pro- 
prietor, the chief place of tranquillity." In the name of 
this rock, the mystic priest proclaims-'—" I am the cell, I 
" am the opening chasm — I am the place of re-animation !" 
This was then the landing-stone, the harbour of life, where 
the patriarch and his children were restored to light and ani- 
mation, after having passed through the symbolical death of 
the deluge. 

In allusion to this, the mystical Bard says — " Existing of 
" yore, in the great seas, from the time when the shout 
" was heard, we were put forth — whilst smiling at the side 
" of the rock, Ner remained in calm tranquillity ."f 

Nir was the Nereus of the Greeks and Romans, the great 
abyss, which was now retiring in calm serenity, when the 
patriarch and his family had reached the sacred rock. 

To this mythology, the stories of the sacred islands in 
the lake of Lomond may have alluded. The Welsh roman- 
tic chronicles of the twelfth century inform us, that this 
lake receives sixty streams from the lieighbouring hills, 
which it unites, and puts forth in the form of one river, 
named Leven — that it contains sixty islands, etach of which 
has a rock or petra, with an eagle's nest on its top — that 
these eagles assemble annually at a central petra, on May-: 

* Appendix, No. 6. 

* Ibid. No. r. 


day, and by their concert of screams, vaticinate the fates of 
countries and kingdoms for the ensuing year.* 

If, by these eagles, we understand fraternities of heathen' 
priests, who often appear under that name, the story may 
have been authenticaDy derived from the mythology af the 
country. ^ 

The island of Bardsea, so illustrious in Bardic and popish 
lore, seems to have been one of the rocks of the supreme 
proprietor, or places of re-animation, which commemorated 
the landing of the patriarch. Meilyr, a celebrated Bard 
of the twelfth cejitury, says of it— i 

Ynys glan yglain 
Gwrthrych dadwyrain 
Ys cain iddi. 

^' The holy islai^d of the Qlain (adder-stone), to which 
f pertains a splendid representation of re-exaltation. , 

I might extend my remarks to several other islands, as 
that of Hu, lona or Icolmkil, where popish superstition 
adopted the prejudice of its pagan ancestor ; and even to 
the name of the great hierophant, Merddin Vardd, which 
, iifiplies priest of the sea-girt hill. But 'as this appellation 
has something of an obsolete sound, it is familiarized to 
our countrymen, by making him the son of Morvryn, mount 
in the sea. In all this, the reader may perceive the predi- 
lection of ouf ancestors for certain small insular spots, whe- 
ther embosomed in lakes, bays, or lestuaries of rivers. 
The same feature of superstition has presented itself to the 

» W. Arehaiol.' V. 11. p. 308. 


researches of modern antiquaries. Thus Dr. Borlase re- 
marks some huge remains of monuments, which are deemed 
' Druidical, in the islets of Scilly, more particularly in Tres- 
caw, which was anciently called Inis Caw, the island of con- 
federacy, whence a graduate in the Druidical school was 
styled Bardd Caw. 

It is not easy to determine with precision, which of our 
sacred islands symbolized the wandering ark, and which 
the stable mount, upon whose firm base the patriarch rested 
from his toils. But they had an intimate relation one to 
the other; and to some sijch sacred island, our mystical 
Bards refer the ultimate origin of their Diluvian lore. 

In the poem called the spoils of the deep^* Taliesin treats 
of the deepest mysteries of his Arkite theology^ 

" Am I not contending," says the Bard, " for the fame 
" of that song which was four times reviewed in the qua- 
" drangular Caer, or sanctuary ! — ^As the first sentence, was 
" it uttered from the cauldron, which began to be warmed 
" by the breath of the nine damsels. Is not this the caul- 
" dron of the ruler of the deep .'" That is, the cauldron of 
Hu, the emperor of the seas. And again : " Am not I con- 
" tending for the honour of a song which deserves atten- 
" tion ! In the quadrangular inclosure, in the island of the 
" strong door or barrier, the twilight and the pitchy dark- 
" ness are mixed together, whilst bright wine is the beve- 
" rage of the narrow circle !" 

The cauldron here mentioned, as will be seen in the en- 
suiiig section^ implies the whole system of Druidical lore ; 

' \ I t •• — — — .— ^ — -^ — - ' 

, * Appendix. No. 3, 


and we are here told, that the mythology of the deluge was 
the first of its mystical productions. This cauldron was 
attended and originally prepared by nine damsek, in a qua- 
drangular sanctuary, within a sacred island. These damsels 
are commemorated in the monuments of Cornwall. 

" On the downs, leading from Wadebridge to St. Co- 
" lumb, and about two miles distant from it, is a line of 
" stones, bearing N. E. and S. W. This monument is ge- 
" nerally called the nine maids." * These maids, in whom 
the Diluvian lore originated, must be ultimately referred to 
the Gpyllion, certain prophetesses of mythology, who gave 
the first presage of the deluge, by their nightly songs, in 
the bosoms of lakes ; that • is, in their sacred islands, -j- 
From these fabulous models, a sisterhood of priest- 
esses and pretended prophetesses seem to have been esta- 
blished early, and to have continued down to the sixth 

Taliesin mentions four damsels, who attended to lament 
the death of the priest of Hu, or perhaps the mystical death 
vf the god himself. % 

Gzm/llion, the name of these damsels, is the plural of 
Gwyll, which, in its present acceptation, is a night wan- 
derer, a. fairy, a witch, &c. They are represented as chil- 
dren of the evening, probably because it was their office tflv 
celebrate certain nightly orgies. 

• Dr. Borlase's Antiq. of Cornwall, p. 189, and PI. XVII. Fig. 1. 
■ + Appendix, No. 12. 
% Obid. No. 10, 


But what was their island, with the strong door ? I think it 
must be recognized in the Seon with the strong door, men- 
tioned in the poem last cited. At this spot, Hu, or Aed' 
don, is fabled to have arrived at the time of the deluge, 
from the land of Gwydion. 

That this was an island, appears from another mystical 
poem.* Taliesin, in his approach to it, goes to the mouth 
of a river, where he is met by Mvgnach, the mysterious, the 
son of Mydnaw, mover of the ship, or of the nine, who 
presided as a sovereign in his sacred Caer, and was ac- 
knowledged as the teacher of liberality and honour, and 
the giver of mead and wine (these are the endowments of 
Hu). He invites the Bard to a booth, which the latter 
seems to avoid with dread and apprehension. 

Seon, however, was not properly the appellative of the 
island, but of certain mystical personages, who communi- 
cated their own name to it, and who seem to have been no 
other than the Gwyllion, or prophetic maids above men- 
tioned. Like the muses of old, they were the patronesses 
of poetry and music. Taliesin says — 

Ef cyrch cerddorion Se syberw <S«ow. 

"' The tuneful tribe will resort to the magnificent Se of 
" the S'eon."\ 

There was some signal disaster attendant upon the fall of 
one of these ladies : hence the Bards use the simile, in il- 
lustrating a hopeless calamity. Thus — 

• Appendix, No. 8. 
t W. Archaiol. p. 40. 

' 168 

Astius chwedl ry chweiris i Gymry 
Ystryw chwerw, nid chweriau ryle— ^ 
Ail yrth, ail syrth Se — 
Ail diliw dilain dfaig erhy. 

" A doleful tale to the Cymry, sports about — Of. bitter 
" stratagem, not fair contention for superiority; like the 
" concussion, like the fall of a Si^-^like the deluge that 
" afflicted the intrepid dragon." * 

Druidism,^ then, is asserted to have originated in the sa- 
cred island of the Seon, where the mysteries of iZiw, the 
Helio-arkite god, considered in the character of Bacchus, 
were celebrated by nine priestesses; who had the title of 
Gwyllion. This brings our Bardic mythology again into 
contact with classical authority. For our S'eon corresponds 
with the Sena, and our Gwyllion with the GalliceneB of 
Pomponius Mela. 

" Sena," says that geographer, " situated in the British 
" sea, over against the land of the Osismii, is famous for 
" the oracle of a Gaulish deity, whose priestesses, devoted 
" to perpetual virginity, are said to be nine in niim- 
" ber. They are called Gallicenee, supposed to be of great 
" genius, and rare endowments ; capable of raising storms 
" by their incantations, of transfoiming themselves into what 
" animals they please, of curing ailments, reckoned by 
" others beyond the reach of medicine ; quick at discern- 
" ing, and able to foretel what is to come; but easy of 
" address only to sailors, and to those who come into thi& 
" island on purpose to consult them."f 

• Gwaiclimni W. Arcliai«l. p. 202. 
t Lib, III. c, 8. 


fhk spot must have been near the Land's-end, or amongst 
the Scilly islands; but as the different Celtic tribes had, 
probably, several Caer Seons, with estabhshments some- 
what differing from each other, I find a Sena in the British 
seas, mentioned by Strabo, which in some particulars comes 
nearer to our Bardic mythology. 

Men never landed here, but the women, passing over iii 
ships, and having conversed with their husbands, returned 
again to the island, and to their charge, which was to wor-> 
ship Bacchus, the god to whom they were consecrated, with 
rites and sacrifices. Every year it was their custom to 
unroof their temple, and to renew the covering the same 
day, before sun-set, by the united labours of all the women ; 
of whom, if any one dropped or lost the burden she was 
carrying, to complete the sacred work, she was torn in 
pieces by the rest, and the several limbs of this unhappy 
companion they carried round their temple, with rejoicings 
proper to the solemnities of Bacchus, until their fury 
abated. Of this cruel rite, Strabo says, thefe always hap- 
pened some instance, whenever the annual solemnity of un- 
covering the temple was celebrated.* 

The Gallicena: of Mela were evidently priestesses of Ked 
or Ceridwen, the mythological consort of the Arkite god ; 
and to her, the singular qualities ascribed to them properly 
appertained. It will be seen in the ensuing section, that 
her knowledge and genius were very extraordinary. She 
was an enchantress— she could assume the form of what- 
soever animal she pleased. She was eminently skilled in 
medicine, and both possessed herself, and could communi- 
cateto her priests, a view of all future events. 

^lib. IV. See Dr. Borlase'* Antiq. of Cornwall, p. 87, 


Strabo's priestesses were immediately consecrated to Hu, 
the British Bacchus, whose cell, quadrangular inclosure, or 
stall of the ox, they covered annually with branches. The 
geographer's narrative fully illustrates the meaning of our 
Bards, when they allude to the calamitous slip of one <^ 
this sisterhood. 

Agreeably to the Helio-arkite superstition,these personages 
exercised their sacred function in the bosoms of lakes or 
bays, which represented the deluge, and within the verge 
of consecrated islands, the symbols either of the floating 
ark, or of the spot upon which the patriarch disembarked. 

As, then, the deified patriarch, or his representative, was 
supposed to have his usual residence in such situations, and 
as the office of the sacred oxen was to submit their necks 
to the car of the lofti/ one, we may perceive what is meant 
by that important rite, of drawing the avanc out of the 
lake. It could imply nothing more, than drawing the 
shrine of the Diluvian god from his symbolical ark, to the 
rock of debarkation, preparatory to his periodical visits to 
his temples and sanctuaries, upon firm groimd ; or investing 
him with the empire of the recovered earth. 

The Bards supply many curious hints respecting the rites 
tised upon this occasion. 

The usual residence of this tauriform god, was in his 
consecrated cell, or ox-stall, on a rock surrounded with the 
billows, the rock of the supreme proprietor, the chief place 
of tranquillity^. At a certain season, his festival com- 
mences with the adorning of the rock and the cell ; then a 
solemn proclamation is issued, the bacchanals hasten to the 
joUy cafousal, and, amongst other extravagances, pierce 


their thighs, so as to cause an effusion of blood.* This was 
at the season of May, or when the song of the Cuckoo 
convenes the appointed dance over the green.f 

" Eminent is the virtue of the free course, when this 
" dance is performed; loud is the horn of the lustrator, 
" when the kine move in the evening.''^ 

And the dance is performed with solemn festivity about 
the lakes, round which and the sanctuary the priests move 
sideways, whilst the sanctuary is earnestly invoking the 
gliding king (the dragon, Bacchus), before whom the fair 
one retreats, upon the veil that covers the huge stones. 
This is also the time of libation, and of slaying the 
victim. § 

This sanctuary is in the island which had floated on the 
wide lake, but was now fixed on the margin of the flood. 
Here the sacred ox, the Ych Banawg, is sta;tioned before 
the lake, to draw the shrine through the shallow water to 
dry ground. There is the retinue of the god, there is the 
procession, there the eagle waves aloft in the air, marking 
the path of Granwyn, the sokr deity, the pervading and, 
invincible sovereign. || 

Aneurin, as an eye witness, thus describes the solemnities 
of this ceremony, and an accident, or mystical incident, which 
attended its celebration. 

• Appendix, No. 6. 
+ Ibid. No. 12. 
t Ibid. No. 4. 
§ Ibid. No. 11. 
I Ibid. No, 2. 

" Ih the presence of the blessed ones, before the great 
" assembly, before the occupiers of the holme (the priests 
" of the sacred island), when the house (shrine of the god) 
" was recovered from the swamp (drawn out of the shallow 
" water) surrounded with crooked horns and croolced 
'' swords, in honour of the mighty king of the plains, the 
" king of open countenance (Bacchus) ; I saw dark gore 
" (from the frantic gashes of the bacchanals) arising on 
" the stalks of plants, on the clasp of the chain (of the 
" oxen), on the bunches (ornaments of their collars), on 
" the sovereign (the god himself), on the bush and the 
" spear (the thyrsus). Ruddy was the sea beach, whilst 
" the circular revolution was perfoimed by the attendants^ 
" and the white bands, in graceful extravagance^ 

" The assembled train were dancing after the manner, 
" and singing in cadence, with garlands on their brows : 
" loud was the clattering of shields round the ancient caul- 
" dron, in frantic mirth ; and lively was the countenance of 
" him who, in hi^ prowess, had snatched over the ford that 
" involved ball, which casts its rays to a distance, the 
" splendid product of the adder, shot forth by serpents.-" 

(This was a priest, who was fabled to have obtained the 
Anguinum, in the manner described by Pliny : the acqui- 
sition seems to have procured him the privilege of personi- 
fying the god.) 

" But," continues the Bard, " wounded art thou, se- 
" verely wounded, thou delight of princesses, thou who 
" lo^nedst the living herd! It was my earnest wish that thou 
" jnightest live, thou of victorious energy ! Ah, thou bull, 
" wrongfully oppressed, thy death I deplore —thou hast 
" been a friend to tranquillity! In view of the sea, in the 


^ front of assembled men, and near the pit of conflict, the 
" raven has pierced thee in wrath."* 

Whether the wounding of this hull, who represented the 
taurine god, was an unforeseen accident, or a customary 
mystical incident, I am not mythologist enough to ascertain. 
But, upon the whole, it may be asserted, that in the so- 
lemnities here described, the ancients may have perceived 
legitimate rites of the orgies of Bacchus ; and we may con- 
clude, that it was something of this kind that Strabo and 
Dionysius had in view, when they ascribed the wprship of 
that god to the British islands, 

The similarity of these rites with those of other heathens, 
might be proved in almost every particular; but I shall 
only produce three or four passages, as bearing generally 
upon the subject. 

Sophocles thus invokes the Bacchus of the Greeks.*]- 

" Immortal leader of the maddening choir, 

" Whose torches blaze with unextinguish'd fire, 

" Great son of Jove, who guid'st the tuneful throng, 

^' Thou who presid'st over the nightly song, 

f Come, with thy Naician maids, a festive train, 

" Who, wild with joy, and raging o'er the plain, 

(' jFor thee the dance prepare, to thee devote the strain"! 

Here, as well as amongst the Britons, this god has his 
f esidence in a small island, Naxos, where he is attended by 

* Appendix, No, 14. 

-t Antig. V. 1162. 

t TranelfUn'i fanshtion. 


his frantic priestesses, and from whence he begins his pro- 
gress, with the nightly song and extravagant dance. Ano- 
ther band of his priestesses welcome him to land at Elis, in 
the hymn recorded by Plutarch. — 

" Come, hero Dionusus, to thy temple on the sea shore; 
" come, heifer-footed deity, to thy sacrifice, and bring the 
" graces in thy train! Hear us, O bull, worthy of our 
" veneration ; hear us, O illustrious bull!" * 

The following passages of Euripides, preserved by Strabo,-^ 
Tepresent the rites of this god much in the same manner 
as our British Bards, allowing for the homeliness of the 
-Celtic muse. 

" Happy the man who, crown'd with ivy zereaths, 

" And brandishing his thyrsus, 
*' The mystic rites of Cuba understands, 

" And worships mighty Dionusus. 
" Haste, ye Bacchae ! 
** Haste, bring our god, Sabazian Bromus, 
" From Phrygia's mountains to the realms of Greece.* 

" On Ida's summit, with his mighty mother, 
" Young Bacchus leads the frantic train, 
" And through the echoing woods the rattling timbreh 
" sound." 

* QusBst. Grasc. p. 299. 
+ Lib. %, 


" Then the Curetes clasb'd their sounding arms, 
" And raised, with joyful voice, the song 

" To Bacchus, ever young ; 

" While the shrill pipe 
*' Resounded to the praise of Cybel^, 
*' And the gay Satyrs tripp'd in jocund dance, 
" Such dance as Bacchus loves." * 

These descriptions correspond with the rites of the British 
Bacchus; but the reader will, perhaps, inquire for the 
mighty mother of the god, who makes so conspicuous a 
figure in the Grecian Bard. 

I have already mentioned, incidentally, a female cha- 
racter, as connected with the Helio-arkite god of the 
Britons. This goddess, who is, at one time, represented 
as the mother of that deity, and, at other times, as his 
consort or his daughter, J)articipates in all his honours and 
prerogatives ; so that, what is now attributed to the one, 
is again presently ascribed to the other. She comes under 
a variety of names, as Ked, Ceridwen, Lldd, Awen, and 
many others ; and she has a daughter, named Creirwy or 
JJywy, whose attributes are not easily distinguished from 
those of her mother. At present, I shall only touch upon 
a few particulars of this character, and note some of its 
analogies with general mythology, reserving what I have 
farther to say upon the subject to another section. 

, Ked, or Ceridwen, presides in the same floating sanc- 
tuary which was sacred to the Arkite god.-f- She, as well 

• Mr. Faber's translation Mjsf. of the Cabiri, V.'ll. .p. 329. 
t Appendix, Ko. 1 and 4. 


as that god, is proprietor of the mystic cauldron.* In 
conjunction with Hit, she has the title of ruler of the Bri-, 
tish tribes, f Consequently, the privilege of investing the 
cbief Bard, or priest, with the dominion of Britain, per^ 
tains to her, conjointly with the Arkite god.:j;. 

In order to discover what is meant by this character, it 
may be remarked, that her s3'mbol, or distinguishing attri- 
bute, was a sacred boat. § And she is even identified with 
the boat, or vessel, which was fabricated by the Diluvian 
patriarch. " Let truth be ascribed to Menwyd, the dragon 
" chief of the world, who formed the curvatures of K^d 
" (the ark), which passed the dale of grievous waters, hav- 
" ing the fore part stored with corn, and mounted aloft, 
<' with the connected serpents." || Hence she is represented 
in this poem, as the daughter of that god. '* Then shall 
" the great ones be broken: they shall have jtheir feeble 
" wanderings beyond the effusion (deluge) of^the father of 
" Ked." And as the deified patriarch was symbolized by 
the sun, so the goddess of the boat and the cauldron was 
venerated in conjunction with the moon.^ 

Hence it appears, that this goddess, by whatever name 
she was distinguished, may be regarded as a personification 
of the ark; or else as an imaginary genius, supposed to 
preside over that sacred vessel; and therefore connected 

• Ibid. No. 1, 2, and 4, and Gododin, Song 24. 

t Gododin, Song 2^. ^ ' 

t Compare Appendix, No. 1 afid 12. 

§ Ibid. No. 9. 

1] Ibid. Np. 12. 

J! See Cadair Taliejiu ip the ensuing septiion. 


Tvith the Arldte god, and dignified, like him, with a celes- 
tial symbol. 

But the god Hu was represented by a bull, and presided 
in his sacred stall. It is also probable, that the female 
deity was sometimes viewed under the emblem of & cozv, 
and had animals of this species set apart for the sacred 
office of drawing her shrine. 

The' Triads mention three mythological cows, one of 
which, I suppose, was the symbol of this goddess, whilst 
the other two were devoted to. her service.* And in the 
poem of the Ogdoad,-f we find the spotted cow, which at the 
era of the flood procured a blessing. On the serene day 
(before the commencement of the storm) she bellowed : on 
the eve of May she was boiled (tossed about by the deluge), 
and on the, spot where her boiling was completed, the 
Diluvian patriarch found rest. Great must have been the 
' honours conferred upon this coze, when the preservation of 
her sacred stall was deemed of such importance, that, witK- 
viit it, the world would become desolate, not requiring the song 
of the cuckoo to convene the appointed dance over the gi^een. 
The cow being the symbol of this goddess, furnishes a 
probable reason why that island, in which her worship emi- 
nently prevailed, was called 'Ynys Mon, the island of the 

Such fantastical coihmemorations of that sacred ark, in 
which the Divine Providence sa,ved an expiring world, were 
not peculiar to the pagan Britgns. 


* W. Archaiol. Vol. II. p. 82. 
+ Appendix, No. 12. 


" The various goddesses of paganism," says Mr. Faber, 
" seem to be all one and the same mythological character ; 
" though they sometimes represent the moon, sometim e 
" the ark, and sometimes the globe of the earth, emerging^ 
" froUx the waters of the deluge." * 

Again — " Most, indeed, of the ancient goddesses are so far 
" the same, that their several mythological histories appear 
" almost universally to relate, partly to the catastrophe of 
" the deluge, and partly to the worship of the heavenly 
" bodies. The world, rising from the midst of the waters, 
" the ark, wandering over their surface, and upon the 
" introduction of Sabianism, the lunar crescent, seem to be 
" alike described in the diversified characters of all and 
" each of them. Their names, moreover, are perpetually , 
" interchanged, so that one goddess is not uniformly a per- 
" sonification of the ark, another of the moon, and a third 
" of the earth ; but, on the contrary, all these various ob- 
" jects of worship are frequently symbohzed, upon diflerent 
" occasions, by one and the same deity. Thus Venus, Der~ 
" ceto, Isis, Ceres, Proserpine, and Latond, are severally 
" and equally the moon, the renovated globe, and the ark 
" of Noah."t 

The same author remarks, that the deified ark was some- 
times considered as the mother, sometimes as the daughter, 
and sometimes as the consort of its builder : :|: and that a 
cow, ' or heifer, was the most usual emblem of the ark.§ 

♦ Mysteries of the Cabiri, V. I. p. 17". 
+ Ibid. p. 138. 
i Ibid. p. 182. 
§ Ibid. p. 177. &c. 


Mr. Faber also takes notice of a rite mentioned by Ta 
citu^ as prevalent amongst the Germans (the neighbours 
of our Celts), " In which we behold the great goddess con- 
" nected, as in the mysteries of Egypt (and Britain), with 
" the small lake, the consecrated island, arid the symbolical 

" In an island in the ocean (says the historian) is a sacred 
" grove, and in it a chariot, covered with a garment (the 
" Lien of our Bards), which the priest alone can lawfully 
" touch. At particular seasons, the goddess is supposed 
" to be present in this sanctuary ; she is then drawn in her 
" car by heifers, with much reverence, and followed by the 
" priests. During this period, unbounded festivity prevails, 
" and all wars are at, an end, till the priest restores the 
" deity to the temple, satiated with the conversation of 
" mortals. Immediately the chariot, the garments, and 
" even the goddess herself, are plunged beneath the waters 
*' of a secret lake." 

Upon this passage, our author observes, that this portable 
shrine, drawn by oxen, was one of the same nature as that 
of Agruerus or Noah, mentioned by Sanchoniatho ; and 
that it is not in^probable, that the mode which the Philis- 
tines adopted, of sending home , the ark of God, was bor- 
rowed from this very superstition. Willing to pay it all 
possible honour, they conveyed it, like the shrine of the 
- great iJ^cenician deity, Agruerus, in a cart drawn by cows. 

" Now, therefore, make a new cart, and take two milch 
" kine, on which there hath come no yoke, and tie the 
" kine to the cart, and bring their calves home from them ; 
" and take the ark of the Lord, and lay it upon the cart; 
" and put the jewels of gold, which ye return him for a 

'N 2 


" trespass offering, in a coffer by the side thereof; and send 
" it away, that it- may go."* 

Thus it appears, that the symbols and rites by which our 
ancestors. commemorated the patriarch and his sacred vessel, 
had a close analogy with the superstition of the ancient 

And now, having ascertained these facts, let me take a 
brief retrospect of the ground over which I have gone. 

In the course of the present section, I have produced a. 
mass of evidence, that the mythology and rites of the 
Druids have a reference to the history of the deluge, com- 
bined with Sabian idolatry : that this people had preserved 
many heathen traditions respecting the deluge; that they 
recognized the character of the patriarch Noah, whom they 
worshipped as a god, in conjunction with the sun ; that 
this Helio-arkite deity was their chief god, appropriating 
the attributes of most of the principal gods of the Gentiles, 
but more particularly corresponding in character with Bac- 
chus; that his symbols and titles point out his identity with 
this deity ; that the rites by which he was honoured, were 
connected with the superstitious veneration of certain sacred 
lakes^ rivers, islands, and rocks; that these rites were appro- 
priate to the orgies of Bacchus ; that the worship of this 
god was connected with that of a goddess, who represented 
the ark ; and that aU this corresponds, as history requires it 
should correspond, with the general superstition of other 
nations, and is therefore derived from the same source. 

We are, indeed, furnished with several hints, some of 

I ■ — > — 

+ Myst. of the Cabiri, V. I. p. 213, 


which I shall produce in the sequel, that the worship of the 
sun was an adventitious branch, grafted at some remote 
period into the religion of our ancestors. But as for the 
Arkite superstion, and the idolatrous veneration of the great 
patriarch, we have seen, that the country of the Cambro- 
Britons, even in the present age, is full of traditions, 
which must be referred, exclusively, to certain local and 
national commemorations of the deluge. And the same 
traditions are recognized by the poets of the middle ages, 
who add a strong' confirnaation to them, by the positive 
assertion, thp.t the patriarch who survived the deluge, had 
been acknowledged as a great god by the ancient Bards, or 
Druids of Britain. 

It also appears, that the mythological Triads, which we 
regard as the most venerable memorials of our progenitors, 
describe Hu, the great deified patriarch and legislator, with 
certain characteristical traits, which can only be verified in 
the history of Noah. 

And that Anenrin, the contemporary of Hengist, and 
Taliesin, the president of the Bards in the sixth century ; 
that great repository of tradition, which was ancient in his 
days; that bigot to the religion of his forefathers, which 
he was not ashamed openly to profess, acknowledged the 
same Hu as the mystical ruler oj^ Britain, ajld as the god of 
ancient Mona, the accredited seat of the Druids. In that 
consecrated spot, this Diluvian god had no avowed supe- 
rior ; for Mona was the island of the praise of Hu — the island 
qf IJu, the severe remunerator. 

This could have been no i^ew superstition in the days of 
Taliesin. For the fabrication of such an idolatrous system 


hy that Bard, no adequate motives can be assigned. Such 
a fabrication, if attempted, could not have been rendered 
permanent and national; nor would the learning of his age 
have carried him through the task of devising a system, 
which could tally with the remotest traditions of the hea- 
then nations, and with the elucidation of those traditions 
by the best scholars of our own times, in so many minute 
particulars. What Taliesin has given us is, then, the 
genuine opinion of the Druids of the sixth century, re- 
specting the religion of their remote predecessors : and we 
have sufficient reason to conclude, that the chain which 
connected them with those predecessors, was neither slack 
nor feeble. 

It is, then, a certain fact, that the Druids did pay an 
idolatrous homage to the patriarch Noah, and to the vessel 
which carried him safe through the waters of the deluge. 
In this superstition, they had almost lost sight of the one 
supreme God, vphose providence alone had protected the 
righteous man, and his tottering ark. 

And I cannot account for their ascending thus high in 
their traditions, and there stopping at once ; nor for their 
retaining just ideas of the patriarchal character, viewed as 
a man, in the midst of the grossest superstition and errors, 
without supposing that their ancestors, at some period of 
their history, had respected the righteous l^ws of Noah, 
and professed his pure rehgipn, notwithstanding the depth 
to which they had fallen in the course of ages. 

However this may have been, I shall keep hold of the 
facts developed in this section, and apply them as a clue, in 
tracing out some of the hidden recesses of this ancient su- 



The Character, Connexions, and mystical Rites of KSd, or 
Ceridwen, the Arkite Goddess of the Druids. Her Iden- 
tity with the Ceres of Antiquity. 

JL HE detection of those divine honours, which the Bri- 
tish sage awarded to the patriarch Noah, under whe^tever 
title; the magnificent mention of " the ship of Nevydd; and 
the commemorations of the deluge upon the borders of the 
lakes of Cambria, encourage me to search for some farther 
vestiges of that kind of superstition, and of those mystic 
rites, which Mr. Bryant terms Arkite; which he considers 
at large in the second volume of his Analysis; and which 
he finds widely diffused over the Gentile world. 

According to this very eminent writer, all the mysteries of 
the heathen nations seem to have been meni(jrials of the deluge, 
and of the events which immediately succeeded. He remarks, 
that those mysteries consisted, for the most part, of a 
melancholy process, and were celebrated by night with 
torches, in commemoration of that state of darkness, in 
which the patriarch and his family had been involved.* 

To be more particular ; he remarks, that ia these mystic 

• Analysis V. II. p. 331. 


rites, the ark of Noah was an object of superstitious vene- 
ration, over which a divinity was represented as presiding; 
and that this character was known by the several names of 
Silene, Isis, Ceres, Rhea, Vesta, Cybele, Archia, Niobe, 
and Melissa, which were the same : these being only titles, 
by which that, female personage was described, who was 
supposed to be the genius of the ark, and the mother of 

And as this personage was the genius of the ark, so our 
author takes notice, that the celebration of her mysteries 
in the British islands, stands upon ancient record. Having 
quoted the authority of Artemidorus upon this subject, Mr. 
Bryant thus declares his own opinion. — " I make no doubt, 
" but that this, history was true, and that the Arkite rites 
" prevailed in many parts of Britain."-!' 

, Holding in my hand the clue presented to me in the pre- 
ceding section of this Essay, and walking in the shade of 
this giant of erudition, who clears the way before me, I^ 
shall now proceed' to the Druidical precinct, in search of 
the British Ceres : and I think I distinguish her character 
and history in the celebrated goddess Ked, or Ceridwen, 
whom I have already remarked in close connection with the 
Arkite god. 

Mr. Owen^ in his Cambrian Biography, describes Cerid- 
wen as " A female personage, in the mythology of the 
" Britons, considered as the Jirst of womankind, having 
" neariy the same attributes with Venus, in whom are per- 
f' sonified the generative powers." 

* Analysis, V. II. p. 268. 
+ Ibid. p. 47S. 


In this description, she is evidently acknowledged as the 
great mother u and Mr. Bryant says of Ceres, that she was 
named da mater, or the mother, because she was esteemed 
(as representative of the ark) the common parent, the. mother 
of all mankind.* 

In the introductory section of this Essay, I quoted se- 
veral passages from those Bards who lived under the Welsh 
princes, in which Ceridvven is mentioned. They uniformly 
represent this character, as having pertained to the super- 
stition of the primitive Bards, or Druids^ They describe 
her, as having presided over the most hidden mysteries of 
that ancient superstition ; and as a personage, from whom 
alone the secrets of their fanatical priesthood were to be 
obtained in purity and perfection. They also intimate, 
that it was requisite for those who aspired to the chair of 
presidency, to have tasted the waters of inspiration from 
her sacred cauldron, or, in other words, to have been ini- 
tiated into her mysteries. 

All thi-s clearly points towards some solemn rites of our 
remote progenitors: and, for such rites, we can find no 
parallel amongst the heathen priesthood of other nations, 
if we except the celebrated mysteries of Ceres, Isis, or Cy- 
bele, all which names Mr. Bryant refers to the same his- 
tory and character. 

But it may be asked, if Ceridwen has the attributes of 
Venus, why should I labour to connect her more particularly 
with the character of Ceres'? 

I must .observe, in reply, that this station seems to be 

• Analjrjtis V. II. p. 


pointed out for her by the most obvious mythological ana- 
logy. The most familiar idea which was entertained of 
Ceres, presented her as the goddess of corn ; as having in- 
troduced the art of tillage, and taught mankind to sow the 
land, and cultivate the various species of grain. 

The reader may recollect a passage of Cuhelyn, a Bard of 
he sixth or eighth century, which I have already quoted, 
and which delineates the character of Ceridwen by one 
impressive epithet — she is styled Ogyrven Amhad, the god- 
dess of various seeds. Thus Ceres and Ceridwen unite by a 
single touch. And our British Ceres, agreeably to Mr. 
Bryant's observation, was the genius of the ark. Her attri- 
bute was a boat, and she was even identified with that 
vessel, which was formed by the Diluvian patriarch ; which 
carried its store of com over the grievous waters, and, like 
the car of Ceres, mounted aloft with its harnessed serpents.* 

The history and clifiracter of Ceridwen are exhibited in 
a very curious mythological tale, called lianes Taliesin, the 
History of Taliesin. It is prefixed to the works of that 
Bard, and has been supposed to contain some romantic 
account of his birth ; but, in reality, it has nothing to do 
with the history of a private individTial, or with romance, 
in the common acceptation of that term. It is a mytholo- 
gical allegory, upon the subject of initiation into the mys- 
tical rites of Ceridwen. And though the reader of culti- 
vated taste may be offended at its seeming extravagance, I 
cannot but esteem it one of the most precious morsels of 
British antiquity, which is now extant. 

Before I exhibit the tale itself, it may be proper to ob- 
• See the conclusion of Sect. II. and the poems there quoted. 


viate an objection to the era of the incidents which it 
recites. Ceridwen is represented as living in the time of 
Arthur. Hence it may be argued, that she could neither 
have been the great mother, nor have belonged at all to the 
ancient superstition of the Druids. 

But the Arthur here introduced, is a traditional cha- 
racter, totally distinct from the prince who assumed that 
name in the beginning of the sixth century. 

He is placed, as Mr. Owen remarks, high in the mytho- 
logical ages, and far beyond the reach of authentic, profane 
history. The great bear is his representative in the heavens, 
and the constellation, Jj^ra, is his harp. He is the son of 
Uthyr Bendragon, the wonderful supreme leader, and Eigyr, 
the generative power. His adventures, as related in the 
mythological tales, had evidently, according to my author, 
a common origin with those of Hercules, the Argonauts, &c. 

Mr. Owen, with some hesitation, refers this character to 
the history of Nimrod.* I rather think that Arthur was 
one of the titles of the deified patriarch Noah. And with 
this idea, the account which we have of him in the Bards 
and the Triads, perfectly accord. 

He is represented as having had three wives,- the daugh- 
ters of mythological personages: each of these wives had 
the name of Gwenhwyvar,-\ that is, the 'lady of the summit 
of the water. These three wives of Arthur are only so 
many copies of the same mystical character, the import of 
which may be perceived in the construction of the name. 
'■■■ , ^ [ ■ 

• Cam. Biog. V. Arthur. 

t Gwen-wy-vsr: the H in this word is merely fonnative. 


And as for Arthur himself, Taliesin's Spoils of the Deep,^ 
a poem which treats wholly of Diluvian mytholagy, repre- 
sents this prince as presiding ^n the ship which brought 
himself, and seven friends, safe to land, when that deep 
swallowed up the rest of the human race. This has no con- 
nection with the history of the sixth century. It relates 
entirely to the deluge ; and the personage here commemo- 
rated, was the same as his mystical parent, XJthyr Pendra- 
gon, or the deified patriarch Noah. 

It appears from Taliesin, that Ceridwen also was esteemed 
a character of, the most remote antiquity: for the. Bard" 
places the origin of her mysteries very remote in the pri- 
mitive ages. 

Cyvarchav i'm Rhln 
Ystyriaw Awen 
Py ddyddwg Anghen 
Cyn no Cheridwen ! 
Cyssevin ym Myd 
A vu ei Sywyd. 

" I implore my sovereign, to consider the inspiring muse 
" (a title of this goddess) — what did necessity produce, 
" more early than Ceridwen ! The primary order in the 
" world was that of her priests." 

These mystical characters, it must be acknowledged, were 
still regarded as existing in the sixth century ; and so they 
would have been to this day, had they been still personified 

* Appemlfx, No. 3. 

+ Taliesia's Mabgyvren, or Elementi. W. Arcbaiol, p. »1. 


in their priests, and had the superstition which upheld them 
continued to prevail-* 

To this short defence of the antiquity of the British mys- 
teries, or rather of the characters to which they were con- 
secrated, I must add, that I have thought it convenient to 
divide the story of Hanes Taliesin into chapters, in order to 
place the long annotations which it may require, as near as 
possible to the subject from which they arise. I have also 
translated the names of men and places : for this I need 
but little apology. Though many of these names occur in 
history, yet in the present, and in similar cases, they are 
evidently selected for the purpose of carrying on the alle- 
gory, without wholly removing the mystic veil : their im- 
port, therefore, ought to be known to the reader. 


" In former times, there was a man of noble descent in 
" Pejillyn, the end of the lake. His name was Tegid Voel, 
" bald serenity, and his paterna,! estate was in the middle of 
" the lake of Tegid, or Fernhjle meer. 

" His espoused wife was named Ceridwen. By this wife 
" he had a son, named Morvran ap Tegid, raven of the sea, 
" the son of serenity, and a daughter called Creir^i^w,-f the 

* Thus Ceridwen still exists in the middle of the twelfth century. See the 
poems of Hywel, in the conclusion of this section. 

"t In otheir passages, this name is written Crdrwy, the tohen of the egg. 


" sacred token of life. She was the most beautiful datosel 
" in the world 

" But toese children had a brothery named AvagidUf 
" utter darkness, or black accumulation, the most hideous 
" of beings. Ceridwen, the mother of this deformed son, 
" concluded in her mind> that he would have but little 
" chance of being admitted into respectable company, un- 
" less he were endowed with some honourable accomplish- 
" ments, or sciences; for this was in the first period of 
" Arthur, and the round table." 

This opening of the tale carries us at once into mytholo- 
gical ground. In the situation of Tegid's paternal estate, 
in the figure presented by that personage, and in the names 
and characters of his children, we have the history of the 
deluge presented to our view ; and that history is sketched 
upon British canvas. ( 

The Britons, as we have seen in the preceding section, 
represented the deluge as having been occasioned by the 
bursting forth of the waters of a lake. Hence they conse- 
crated certain lakes, as symbols of the deluge ; whilst the 
little islands which rose to the surface, and were fabled to 
have floated, or else artificial rafts, representing such float- 
ing islands, were viewed as emblems of the ark, and as 
mystical sanctijaries. They also regarded certain rocks, or 
mounts, attached to such lakes,: as typifying the place of 
the patriarch's debarkation ; and in the midst of these hal- 
lowed scenes, they celebrated the memorials of the deluge 
by some periodical rites. We are therefore told, that the 
paternal estate of Tegid Voel, the husband of Ceridwen, 


was in the centf'e of Pemble meer, the largest of the Welsh 
lakes. This estate must have heen limited to the space of 
a raft, skip, or boat, which could have floated in such a 
situation ; or else it must be supposed to have suffered that 
kind of submersion, by which our ancestors commemorated 
the destruction of the ancient world. 

But the selection of Pemble meer, in this tale, is not 
made at random. That lake, and its vicinity, are deeply 
impressed with mythological memorials of the deluge. 

Camden favours us with the description of it by an anti- 
quarian poet, in which several circumstances exactly corres- 
pond with the British accounts of Llyn Llion, their Dilu- 
vian lake, and justify the choice of our mythologists, in 
making the one a type of the other. 

* " Hispida qua tellus Mervinia respicit Euruitt, 
" Est Lacus, antiquo Penlinum nomine dictus. 
" Hie Lacus illimis, in valle Tegeius altS., 
" Late expandit aquas, et vasfum conficit orbem, 
" Excipiens gremio latices, qui, fonte perenni, 
" Vicinis recidunt de montibus, atque sonoris 
" lUecebris captas,^ demulcent suaviter aures. 
" Illud habet cert^ Lacus admirabile dictu, 
" Quantumvis magna pluvid nan cestuat; atqui. 

" Where Eastern storms disturb the peaceful skies, 

" In Merioneth famous Penlin lies. 

" Here a vast lake, which deepest vales surround, 

•■ His wat'ry globe rolls on the yielding ground, 

" Increas'd with constant springs, that gently run 

" From the rough hills with pleasing murmurs down : 

" This wond'rous property the waters boast, 

" The greatest rams are in its channels Jost, 

" Nor raise the flood j but when the tempests roar, 

" The rising waves with sudden rage boil o'er, ? 

" And Gonqu'ring billows scorn th' unequal shore." ' 


" Aere turbato, si veutus munnitra tollat, 
" Excrescit suhito, rapidis violentior undis, 
" Et tumido superat contemptasftumine ripas." 

It is here that the sacred Dee rises, from two fountainSj. 
which retain the "names of the god and goddess of the ark — 
here these fountains unite their venerated stream, which 
they roll, tincorrupted, through the midst of the Diluviait 
lake, till they anive at the sacred mount of the debarkafion. 

And here we find one or two objects, which connect the 
terms of British mythology with those employed by other 

Mr. Bryant observes from Josephns, that the place of 
descent from the ark,' on Mount Ararat, was called 
Awo£aT)ifio» ; and from Pausanias, that the place where Da- 
naus made his first descent in Argolis, was called 'AvaZa^jMq. 
And that Danaus (whose sole history is referred to the 
deluge, and to Arkite superstition) is supposed to have 
brought' with hirh the Amphiprumnon, or sacred model of 
the ark, which he lodged in the Aciropolis of Argos, called 
Larissa.* " 

Hence our mythologist infers, that the place where the 
ark, or its representative, came to land, was distinguished 
by a name, which implied a descent^ or going forth. 

Agreeably to this idea, in the spot where Dwifvawr and 
Dwyvach, or the incorruptible Dee, emerges safe from the 
waters of the lake, we find the Bala, or going forth. The 
term is applied to the shooting,, or coming forth of leaves 

• Analysis. V. II, p. a','9. 


and flowers, from the opening buds of plants ; and at this 
Bala there is a large artificial mount, called TomenyBala; 
the tumulus of the Egress, which seems to have been dedi- 
cated to the honour of this sacred stream. 

In the neighbourhood of this tumulus, rises the hill of 
Aren. But Mr. Bryant tells us, that Aren and Aren?, are 
names of the ark, and that the city Arena is literally, the 
city of the ark. * 

Our British Aren was sacred to Tydain Tad Awen, Titaii, 
the father of the inspiring muse^ or Apollo, f who, as we have 
already seen, was the Helio-arkite patriarch. 

The bards speak of the sanctuaries of their gods, and ca- 
nonized personages, by the name of Beddau, Graves, or 
Testing places ; just as the temples of Osiris, in Egypt, were 
legarded »s the sepulchres of that god. And it is remarkable, 
that Taliesin joins the Bidd of Tidain, in the same stanza 
with that of Dylan, whom I have already proved to have 
been no other than the Diluvian patriarch. 

Bed Tidain, Tad Awen 
Yg godir Bron Aren : 
Yn yd wna ton tolo, 
Bed Silan Llan Beuno. j: 

• Analysis, V- U. P- 328. 518. 

t Thus we find a temple of ApoUo opon Mount Fania|$u9, \rhere the ark 
of bencalion rested. 

t W. Arohaiel. p. 79. ] 


" T{ie resting place of Tydain, the father of ike inspiidng 
" muse, is in the border of the mount of Ar en: >hilst the 
" wave makes an oyerwhelming din, the resting place of 
" Dylan is in the fane of Beuno,* the ox of the ship." 

Of Beunaw, the ox of the ship, that is, the arkite patri- 
arch, venerated under the shape of that animal ; tlie Welsh 
Heralds and Monks have made a celebrated saint a descend- 
ant of Tegid, and a founder of several churches. If ever 
there was such a saint, he must have borrowed his name 
from the mythology of his pagan ancestors. 

That the name of Aren has an ancient mythological 
meaning, and probably the same which Mr. Bryant assigns 
to it, may be inferred from the singular coincidence, that, 
as our Welsh Aren had a Bedd of Tydain or Apollo, so, on 
the top of the Arenes, in the borders of Britatiy, there are 
the ruins of an old fabric, which is positively decided to 
have been a temple of the same god.f From its situation, 
in the skirt of Armorica, and in the neighbourhood of 
Baiefux, it may be conjectured that this was that Identical 
temple of Belen, or Apollo, in which AttiUs Patera the 
friend of Ausonius had presided. ' For that professor is 
called Bagocassis, and is said to have been Stirpe satus 
Druidum — Gentis A^^niorictz. % 


The Arenes of Britany, like that of Wales, may also 
have furnished their Druids with a local opportunity of 

• JSd, an ox, and A'aiu, a ship. 
^i See Voyage dans 1« Finistere, Tom. I. 
X Anson. Prof, 4 and 10. 


fcortimetaorating the deluge, as they contain a natural phoe- 
homenon, which must just have suited their purpose. We 
are told, that " a league West from this town, (Falaise) 
" lies the mountain of Arenees. In the village of Arnes, 
"" belonging to this town, there is a lake, fed by subterrane- 
" ous channels, which sometimes dries up, and is suddenly 
*' filled again."* 

But, to return to the lake of Tegid — we may infer from~ 
these coincident circumstances, that this lake and its neigh- 
bourhood were deeplj' impressed with the characters of arkite 
superstition ; and that our mythological narrator was fully 
aware of this fact, when he placed the paternal estate of 
Tegid, the husband of Ceridwen, in the bosom of Pemble 

Let us, therefore, lake a brief view of the proprietor of 
this estate. 

Tegid Vohel, bald serenity, presents himself at once to 
our fancy. The painter would find no embarrassment in 
sketching the portrait of this sedate, venerable personage, 
whose crown is partly stripped of its hoary honours. But 
of all the, gods of antiquity, none could with propriety, sit 
for this picture, excepting Saturn, the acknowledged re- 
presentative of Noah, and the husband of Rhea, which was 
but another name for Ceres, the genius of the ark. 

As consort of the arkite goddess, Tegid was evidently the 
deified patriarch : it has, however, been observed, that this 
deity was a Pantheos, comprehending in his own person, 

o a , 

Atlas Geogtifh. X4- mi. p. 1062. 


most of the superior gods of the heathens; here then, we 
contemplate him in the character of Saturn^ The parti- 
culars of Tegid's appropriate history have disappeared ; but 
by a little mythological deduction, we shall discover him 
under another name. 

Tegid, as we have already seen, was the father of 
Creirwy, the token of. the egg, or the British Proserpine ; 
and Creirwy was the same personage as Llywy, the putting 
forth of the egg, mentioned by Aneurin and Taliesin, in 
conjunction with Hu or Aeddon. 

This identity appears from the poems bf Hywel, son of 
Owen, prince of North Wales, who styles Llyxey his sister, 
and that, in consequence of his matriculation into the mys- 
teries of Ceridwen.* She could not have become the mys- 
tical sister of Hy well by this means, had she not been the 
daughter of that goddess. 

The same princely Bard says, that Llywy had stolen his 
soul, as she had stolen that of Gdney ; but the mistress o£ 
Garwy was Creirwy, the daughter of Ceridwen. 

Neud wyv dihunwyv hoen Greirwy — hoyw — deg 
A'm hudoedd val Garwy .-j- 

Am I not deprived of spirit ! I am enchanted like 
Garwy, by her who equals Creirwy, sprightly and fair." 

Creirwy and LlyWy bfeing thus the same personage, it 

* See tbe latter put of the present Section, 
t W. Arcbaiol. p. SIS^ 


fqllows, that the father of Creirwy was also the father of 
lilywy; but the parent of the latter is mentioned in the 
Triads, by the name of Seithwedd Saidi.* .And here it 
must be remarked of the lady, that, notwithstanding her 
exquisite beauty and delicacy, she is classed with two other 
mythological personages, under the character of Gwr- 
'oorzeyn, a man-maid, which must imply a virago, at least, 
if not something still less attractive. 

From these premises it is clear, that Seithwedd Saidi was 
a name of Tegid, the father of this mystical lady ; and this 
name, as well as Tegid, must be referred to the character 
of Saturn. 

We shall now have an opportunity of investigating hi§ 
mythology. Seithwedd is an epithet, implying either sep- 
tiform, or else, having seven courses. This.may allude to the 
multitude of his names and functions, or to the annual feasts 
of Saturn, which were continued for the space of seven 
days. If Saidi be a British term, it must be derived from 
Sdd, firm, or just. From this word, and Wtti, a covered 
vessel, Mr. Owen deduces the Welsh name of Saturn ; so 
that Sad-wrn is xhejust man of the vessel. This description 
is not inapplicable to the patriarch Noah, and to his 
history, the character of Saturn is referred by mythologists 
in general, and particularly by Mr. Bryant, who takes no- 
tice, that Dagon, a representative lof the sMne patriarch, 
was called Said-on,-f which comes near to our Shidi,. I 

Seithwedd, or as he is sometimes called Setihin Saidii '"■>■ 

• W. Archaiol. V. 11. p. 15. n. 
t Analysis, V. II. p. 300. 


is represented as king of Dyved, Demetia ; but this leads us 
again into the regions of mythology. 

Dyved was the patrimony of Pwyll, reason or patience, 
who embarked in the vale of Cwch, the boat, for Anntipn, 
the great deep,- which he governed for the space of a com- 
plete year, whilst 4rawn, jnN the Arkite, styled alsp 
Pendaran, lord of the thunder, superintended his paternal 
dominions. ' Upon a future occasion I shall produce more 
of this tale. In the mean tinie, I may be allowed to sug- 
gest, that from the specimen here exhibited, Mr. Bryant 
would have pronounced it genuine arkite mythology. 

The district of Dyved was so entirely devoted to the 
mysteries of Druidism, that it was said to have been anci^ 
ently enveloped in Llengil, a concealing veil: and it was by 
way of eminence;^ denominated Grpldd Yr Hud, the land, 
of mystery. 

There is a story recorded in the triads, of Seithetiin, the 
son of Seithwedd Saidi, which states, that upon a certain- 
time, this prince was intoxicated, and that in his liquor, 
he let in the sen over the country, so as to overwhelm a large 
and ■populace district. This tale, which I must consider here- 
after, is of the same origin with those local relations of the 
submersion of cities in the lakes of Britaii^, which I h^ve 
remarked in the preceding section. 

, But Seithenin is nothing more than Septimianus, a titje 
which the Romans conferred upon Saturn : so that Seitbe-, 
nin, and his mythological father, Seithwedd, are in reality, 
^he s^arae character. 


I jSiid a son of this Saidi under another name, which, 
together with his lank and connexions, is very remarkable. 
He is acknowledged as' one of three sovereigns in the court 
of, the mythological Arthur, that is, Noah, by the title of 
Cadeiriaith, the language of the chair, the son of Saidi ; and 
Cadraith, the law of the inclosureythe son oi Perthawr Godo, 
the doorkeeper of ihe partial covering, that is, the ark, or. 
its representative. * 

This doorkeeper w^as therefore, the same person with 
Saidi, and with Tegid, the husband of Ceridw^n ; and his 
name, and the office imphed by that name, must be referred 
to Janus, the deify of the door or gate, whose character has 
been identified with that of Saturn. 

Cadeiriaith, the son of Saidi, holds his dignity in con- 
junction Avith Gor-on-Wi/, great. lord of the water, the son 
of Echel, with the pierced thigh ; and with a third character, 
named Fleid^r Flam, the incloser of fame, son. of Gqdo, 
the arJcite cell. 

As one of three amiable knights, in the court of the same 
Arthur, this personage is recognized under the name of 
Cadair, the chair or presidency, and as the son of Seithin- 
Saidi ; he is here classed with Gwalchmai, the hawk of 
May, the son of Gwyar, clotted gore; and with Garwy, wa- 
ter's edge, son of Geraint, the -vessel, son of Erbyn, the lofty 

This €axiair, or presidency, of Saturn, was also named 

• See W. Archaiol. V. II. p. 4 and 26. 
t Ibid. p. 19 and 74. 


Cibddar, the Mystic, and . he had a son styled Elmiir, the 
fixed or established spirit, ranked as one of the sovereign 
Bulls.* Here we come round to the history of Hu, the 
Tauriform, Helio-arkite god, and his sacred animals. The 
royal bnll before us, as I have already observed, is con- 
nected with Cynhaiial prototype, the son of Argat, the ark; 
and with Av'ion, the cardinal point, in the Ecliptic, son of 
Taliesin, radiant front, which is a title of the solar deity, 
and hence, assumed by his ^priest and representative in the 

This little excursion in mythological ground, exhibits the 
various avenues, as pointing to one prominent object. 
The scattered notices in the mythological Triads, are so 
many parts of one connected system, and the mystical pe- 
digrees are only intended to shew the relation of those parts 
amongst themselves. This is only the same story told in 
the British language, which Mr. Bryant and Mr. Faber 
analyzed in the Greek, and resolved entirely into the my- 
thology of the Diluvian age, mixed with Sabian idolatry. 

We find then, that Tegid, the husband of Ceridwen, 
Seithwedd Saidi, and the doorkeeper of Godo, were one and 
the same personage, in whom we may have the features of 
the Saturn, or Janus, of classical antiquity. 

But what our Dittids intended, by their personification 
of the language of the chair, or law of the inclosureof Satvimi 
and by elevating this character to the dignity of a sovereign, 
it is difficult to say, unless by this figure, they meant to en- 
force the authority of their Bardd Cadair,. presiding Bard 

• W, Archaiol. V. II. p. 4, 13, and 69. 


or Druidf and to intimate that, he taught and governed by 
the maxims and laws of the Diluvian patriarch. 

Such may have been their meaning ; for to this august 
personage, the character of Saturn, or Janus, is pointedly 
referred, by our great mytholpgist, Mr. Bryant ; who ob- 
serves, that amongst all the various representations of the 
patriarch, there are none, wherein his history is delineated 
more plainly, than in those of Saturn and. Janus, the latter 
of whom carried about him many emblenis to denote his 
different departments. There was particularly, a staff in 
one hand, with which he pointed to a rock, from' whence 
issued a profusion of water ; in the other hand, he held a 
key. He had generally near him, some resemblance of a 
ship> and like our Tegid, he had the title of ©t-faio?, or the 
deity of the door or passage. * 

Mr. Bryant alsd remarks, that though the Romans made 
a distinction between Janus and Saturn, they were only two 
titles of the same person ; hence many of their emblems 
were the same. Saturn, like Janus, had keys in his hand, 
and his coins had the figure of a ship. He had the name 
of Septimianus ; and the Saturnalia, which were days set 
apart for his rites in December, were in number seven. 
These rites are said to have been of great antiquity, far 
prior to the foundation of Rome, f 

As our British Saturn was named Saidi, so his mystical 
spouse seems to have had a title of nearly the same sound ; 
for her chair or sanctuary was called Caer Sidi, the sanc- 

• See Analys! V. II. p. 253, &«.• 
+ Ibid. p. 260. 


iicary of Sidi; but according to Mr. Bryant, XiJij, Sidee,' 
\vas a legitimate title of Ceres.* 

The consideration of this subject I must defer for the 
present, and go on to examine, whether the children of 
Tegid and Ceridwen have any similar relation to the' history: 
of the deluge. 

Their first born was named Monran, r alien of the sea. 
Of this personage, a few particulars are recorded. He was 
dark and hideous in his person ; he was Ysgymmydd Aerau, 
addicted to contention; and he escaped from the army of the 
mythological Arthur, or the deified patriarch. 

From these hints I conjecture, that the character of 
Morvran represents the raven which Noah sent forth. This, 
was the first animal that proceeded from the ark : hence^ 
mythology might regard him as her first-born son. And the 
short account which we have of him, is perfectly consistent 
with what Mr. Bryant has collected from the ancient my- 
thology of other nations, upon the subject of Naah'^ 

It is repiarked, that Noah sent the raven out of the ark, by* 
way of experiment ; but that it disappointed him and never 
returned — hence a tradition is mentioned, that the raven was, 
once sent out upon a message by Apollo, but deserted 
him, and did not return when he was expected., i* , > 

But this faithless messenger was for the most part, es- 

• See Analys. V. 11. p. 380. 
t Ibid. 286, 


t€em€d a bud of ill omen. His very croaking would put a 
stop to the process of matrimony. But like Morvran, he 
was also personified by a human character. The mytholo- 
gists, observes Mr. Bryant, out of every circumstance and 
title, formed a personage. Hence Pausanias speaks of the 
raven, as an ancient hero, and mentions his family.* 

Morvran may then be regarded as the representative of 
Noah's raven ; but what are we to understand by the forlorn 
condition of Avagddu, utter darkness, or black accumulation, 
whose misfortune was the grief of his mother; and who 
could not be relieved, as we learn from the sequel of the 
tale, till the renovating cauldron of the deluge had boiled 
for a year and a day. And what are we to think of his 
subsequent illuminated state, when he became the pride of 
Ceridwen, and if I mistake not, married the rainbow ?f 

Avagddu is made a son of Tegid ; but as mythological ge- 
nealogy is mere allegory, and the father and son are fre- 
quently the same person under different points of view; 
this character, in his abject state, may be referred to the 
patriarch himself, during his confinement in the internal 
gloom of the ark, where he was surrounded with utter dark- 
ness, a circumstance which was commemorated in all the 
mysteries of the gentile world. If this be granted, then the 
son of Ceridwen, or the ark in his renovated state, is the 
same patriarch, born anew to light ^d life, at the close of 
the deluge. 

» See Analys. V. 11. p. 399. , 

')' For these particulars, see the sequel of Hanet iTaliain, and that re- 
^ailtable poem called the Cb^ir of CeridweD, whi(;b I shall produce ia the 
poi|rse of this S^ctipq. 


And as our complex mythology identified the character of 
the patrianch, with that of the sun ; so Avagddu may also 
have been viewed as a type of that luminary, in his veil of 
darkness and gloom, during the melancholy period of the 
delu"-e. This gloom was afterwards changed into ligJit and 
cheerfulness; and thus the son of Ceridwen may he recog- 
nized, in his illuminated state, under the titles of Elphin 
and Rhuvawn Be'oyr, which implies bursting forth with ra- 
diancy, and seems to he an epithet of the Helio-arkite god. 

The chair of Ceridwen represents Gwydion, or Hermes, 
in the act of forming the Iris, as a consort for the reno- 
vated sun; and the allegory is as just as it is beautiful : for 
what was the secondary cause of this sacred token, but the 
rays of the sun just bursting forth from the gloom, and 
mixing with the humid air ? 

Avagddu, thus considered as a type of the Helio-arkite 
god in his afflicted and renovated state, has a striking co- 
■ incidence of character with Eros, the blind god of the 
Greeks, who was a distinguished agent in the Arkite mys- 
teries, whose name, in the course of those mysteries, was 
changed into Phanes,* a title of the sun, not dissimilar to 
our El-phin; and whose symbol was the bow, which, a& 
well as the bow of Apollo, alluded to the Iris, f 

I am not sure, however, that the character of Avagddu 
had not a secondary aUusibn, in his forlorn state, to the 
uninitiated, and in his renovation, to the adept in the mys- 
teries of Druidism : as the former was regarded as living in 

• Brjant's Analysis, V. II. p. 331. 
+ Ibid. p. 343. 


darkness, whereas the latter was illuminated and endowed 
with all knowledge. 

Creirwy, the token, or sacred symbol of the egg, otherwise 
called Uywy, the manifestation, or putting forth of the egg, 
is not the least remarkable of Ceridwen's children. 

As it will appear presently, that the mother is described 
as a hen, or female bird of some species, there seems to be 
an analogous propriety in the names of the daughter, who, 
though a Gwrvorwyn, or virago, was esteemed a paragon 
of beauty : and, as such, she is classed with Arianrod merch 
Don, the lady of the silver wheel, the daughter of Jove; 
whom Ceridwen represents as conducting the rainbozo, df 
which she was, therefore, the appropriate genius; and with 
Gwen, Venus, the daughter of Cy-wryd, Crydon, the man^ 
hood of Crodon, or Saturn.* 

Creiwy, as daughter, of Ceridwen, or Ceres, was the 
Proserpine of the British Druids. The attributes of the 
mother and daughter, in the Bardic mythology, as well as 
in that of other heathens, are so much confounded together, 
as not to be easily distinguished. Mr. Bryant pronounces 
them to have been the same mystical personage.f 

All the difference which I can perceive in their character, 
is this. Ceridwen was the genius of the ark throughout 
its whole history ; hence she was viewed as a sevefe matron, 

• Bryant's Analysis, V. II. p. 260. 

The author observes from Schediui, de Diis Germ, that Saturn had the name 
of CfoAo. The parentage of the British Venus seems to hare corresponded 
with that of the Greek. 

t Ibid. p. ^1. 


supposed to preside in those public sanctuaries, where tbtf 
Arkite rites were celebrated: whilst Creirwy, on the ofeef 
hand, was regarded as the genius of the same sacred vessd, 
only during its perilous conflict with the waters of the 
deluge ; and therefore represented as a helpless virgin, ex- 
posed to dreadful calamities, from which she was at length 
delivered. She did not preside in the Arkite temples', 
though she was occasionally associated with her mother; 
but the private and portable tokens delivered to the initiated, 
and the wand or branch, which was a badge of the Bardic 
office, were regarded as her gift. 

This mystical lady is also called Creirddylad, the token of 
the flowing or floating,-^ and described as the daughter of 
Uudd Llaw Eraint, the chief who governed the vessel, or of 
Uyr, the margin of the sea : and here she is an old ac- 
quaintance of the English nation, being no less a personage 
than Cordelia, the daughter of King Lear. 

• In an old poem, in which Gwyn ah Nuid, King oT 
Annwn, is introducedjas a speaker, this potentate describes- 
himself as — 

Gordderch Creirddylad merch Lludd,* 

" The paramour of Creirddylad, the daughter of Lludd." 

Here we have a hint of a British tradition upon the sub-- 
ject of the rape of Proserpine. Gzcyn ab Nudd was the 
Pluto of the Britons. Annwn, the kingdom of that god, 
in its popular acceptation, is liell, or the infernal regions j 
but in the mystical poems and tales, Aimwn seems to be no 

" - - ■ I ., ■ ■■ .1 ■■■»-. ■ I .. - ■■■! ^11 I Ml P 11 I ■ IM^- !■■ ■ 

• W. Archaiol. p. 166. 


other; than that deep or a^T/ss, the waters of which burst 
forth at the deluge, Gwyn, the King o£ Annwn, was there- 
fore the genius of the deluge; and the fable means nothing 
more, than that the ark was forcible/ carried away by the 

But the more general name of the daughter of Ceridwen 
was Creirwy, the token or symbol of the egg ; and under this 
symbol, the ark was represented in the general mythology 
of the heathens. 

' This assertion it may be necessary to support by the au- 
thority of Mr, Bryant, whp observes, that in many hiero- 
glyphical descriptions, the dove, Oinas, was represented as 
hovering over the mundane egg, which was exposed to the 
fury of Typhon, or the deluge; and that this egg was, 
doubtless, an emblem of the ark, whence proceeded that 
benign person, the preacher of righteousness, who brought 
mankind to a more mild kind of life. Having quoted, from 
liucius Anjipelius, a passage to this efFect-rr-Dicitur et Eu- 
phratis fiuvio, Ovum piscis columbam assedisse dies pluri- 
mos, et exclusisse Deam benignam, et misericordem homi- 
jiibus, ad vitam bonam ; he thus accounts for the topogra- 
phy of the fable. The ark rested upon mount Bans, in 
Armenia, the Ararat of Moses ; and in this country are the 
fountains of the Euphrates. 

An egg, adds our author, as it contained the elements of 
life, was thought no improper emblem of the ark, in which 
were preserved the rudiments of the future world. Hence 
in the Dionusiaca, and in other mysteries, one part of the 
nocturnal ceremony consisted in the consecration of an egg. 
By this, we Are informed by Porphyry, was signified the 
world. This zeorld, says Mr. Bryant, was Noah and his 


family, even all mankind, inclosed and preserved in the 
ark. This seems to have been a favourite symbol, very 
ancient, and adopted among many nations. The Persians 
said of Oromasdes, that he formed mankind, and inclosed 
them in an egg. The Syrians used to speak of their ances- 
tors, the gods, as the progeny of eggs.* 

The same learned writer remarks, that in the the temple 
of the Dioscouri, in Laconia, there was suspended a large 
hieroglyphical egg, which was sometimes attributed to 
Leda, and sometimes to Nemesis, the deity of justice. It 
was sometimes described as surrounded by a serpent, either 
as an emblem of that providence, by which mankind was 
preserved, or else to signify a renewar of life, from a state 
of death ; as the serpent, by casting his skin, seems to renew 
his life. By the bursting of the egg, was denoted the 
opening of the ark, and the disclosing to light whatever was 
within contained.-f- 

From the contemplation of this symbol of foreign super- 
stition, we naturally turn to the celebrated Ovum jingui- 
num, or serpent's egg, of the Celtic priesthood, as described 
by Pliny. 

This was, by way of eminence, regarded as Insigne Dru- 
idis, the Insigne, or distinguishing mark of a Druid. Hav- 
ing already seen so much of the Arkite superstition amongst 
this order of men, we may easily conceive, that this sacred 
egg had a referaice to the same subject, and that, like 
the mundane egg of other pagans, it was, in some sense, 
an emblem of the ark. We are told by Pliny, Experimen- 

• Bryant's Analysis. V. II. p. 319, &c. 
+ Ibid, p. 360. 


lum ejus esse, si contra aquasjluitet, vel auro vindurti — That 
the test of its genuineness, was its, floating against the 
water, even with its setting of gold. I suppose the author 
means, that it would keep upon the surface, when drawn 
Cgdinst the stream; and that, in this passage, he gives us a 
hint of its mystical import and character, as an eiivblem of 
in floating tesseL 

It must also be procured, we are told> Certd Lundf at a 
certain time of the moon. This information exhibits the 
connexion of mythological ideas j for the moon was a sym- 
bol of Ceridwen, and of the arkt 

The efficacy of the Anguinum, ad victorias litium, et 
JRegum aditvs, may easily be conceived. The Druids, who 
were the supreme judges in all litigated causes, may be sup- 
posed to have lent a favourable ear to those who produced 
this credential of their order; and even kings, who stood 
in awe of their tribunal, would seldom close their gates 
against them> 

The natural historian recites, at large the fabulous story 
of the production of this trinket — Angiies innumeri, testate, 
convoluti, &c. 

The same mummery is repeated by the ancient Bards. — 
" Lively was the aspect of him who, in his prowess, had 
" snatched over the ford that involved ball, which casts its 
" rays to a distance, the splendid product of the adder, shot 
" forth bi/ serpents." * 

* Appendix, No. 14. 


But this was iftei'ely so much dust thrown into the eyes of 
the profane multitude. 

The Druids themselves are called Nadredd, adders^ by the 
Welsh Bards. This title they owed, I suppose) to their 
regenerative system of transmigration. The sei-pent, which 
annually casts his skin, and seems to return to a second 
youth, may have been regarded by them, as well as by other 
heathens, as a symbol of renovation : and the renovation of 
mankind was the great doctrine set forth by the Arkite mas- 
teries, and by the symbolical egg. 

The Druids, therefore, were the serpents which assem- 
bled, at a stated time in the summer, to prepare these em- 
blems of Creirwy, and to conceal within themi certain dis- 
criminative tokais, which probably were kept as a profound 
secret from the persons who received them. 

Pliny saw one of these eggs, but he had not the curiosity 
to examine it any farther than its cartilaginous- integument ; 
otherwise he would probably have discovered, that it con- 
tained either a lunette of glass, or small ring of thte same 
material ; such as those which the Welsh call Gleiniau Na-. 
dredd. These were certainly insignia of a very sacred cha- 
racter amongst our ancestors ; and they seem to have been 
intimately connected with the Anguinum : for the annotator 
upon Camden remarks, that in most parts of Wales, all 
over Scotland, and in Cornwall, the vulgar still retain the 
same superstitious notions respecting the origin and virtues 
of the former, which Pliny records of the latter.* And 
the Glain was viewed as an emblem of renovation : hence 

* Gibson's Camden Col. 815.— See aUo Owen's Diet. V. Glam, 


MeHyr calls Bardsey-^" The holy islarid of the Glain, in 
'" ■which there is a fair representation of a resurrection."* 

That these Glains were artificial, can hardly admit of a 
;doubt ; though some have hastily confounded them with 
certain productions of nature. We find some of them blue, 
some white, a third sort green, and a fourth regularly varie- 
gated with all these sorts of colours ^ but still preserving 
the appearance of glass : whilst others again were composed 
of earth, and only glazed over.-t- 

It seems most likely, that the ' secret of manufacturing 
these Glains was totally unknown in Britain, excepting to 
the Druids :% and it may be collected from some passages, 
'that these ptiests Carried about them certain trinkets of vi- 
trified matter, and that this custom had a view to their 
Arkite mystei^ies. 

Thus, in the poem called the chair of Taliesin, we find the 
stranger admitted to the ceremonies of lunar worship, upon 
his exhibiting the Czerwg Gwydryn, or boat of glass, a sym- 
bol which certainly commemorated the sacred vessel, and 
probably displayed the figure of a small lunette ; as the ark 
vras sometinles described under that figure, and called Selene, 
the moon.%' - 

• W. Archaiol. p. 193. 

t See Camden, as cited before. 

t " With similar reverence the Samothracians, whose devotion to the Cabirie 
" rites is well known, regarded their magical rings. These were of tlie nature 
•< of amulets, and were believed to have a power of averting danger." 

Faber's Mjst. of the Cabiri, V. I. p. 213. 

§ Bryant's Analysis, V. II. p. 653. 


I suppose that it was from the material, of which this 
symbol was composed, that even the vessel, in which the 
patriarch and his family were preserved, was denominated 
Caer Wydyr, the inclosure, or circle of glass.* And Merd- 
din Emrys, and his nine Bards, are represented as having 
put to sea in the Ty Gwydrinfy or home of glass ; which 
could have been no other than a ship or vessel consecrated 
to Bardic mysteries. 

The portable trinket which I have mentioned, whatever 
its form may have been, was the Crair, or Insignk of the 
Druids ; and when made or dressed up in the figure of an 
egg, it became Creir-wy, the'Insign^ or token of the egg, 
the sacred emblem of the British Proserpine. From the 
pre-eminent estimation in which this emblem was held, 
both in Gaul and in our own island, we may draw a reason- 
able inference, that the Arkite mysteries were the most sa- 
cred arcana of the Celtic priesthood. 

In the short chapter which gave rise to these remarks, 
our mythological narrator appears, with a master's hand, 
to have directed our attention to the history of the deluge, 
and to the local notions of the Britons relative to that 
event. We shall now observe his dexterity in delineating 
the character and operations of Ceridwen herself. 

* Appendix^ No. 3. 

t W. Arshaiol. V. li. p. S9. 



" Then she (CeridWen) determined, agreeably to the mys- 
** tery of the books of Pheryllt, to prepare for her son a 
" cauldron of Awena Gwyhodeu, water of inspiration and 
" sciences, that he might be more readily admitted iiito 
" honourable society, upon account of his knowledge, and 
" his skill in regard to futurity. 

" The cauldron began to boil, and it was requisite thfet 
" the boiling should be continued, without interruption, 
^* for the period of a year and a day ; and till three blessed 
" drops of the endowment of the spirit could be obtained. 

" She had stationed Gwion the Little, the son of Gwreang 
*' the Herald, of Llanvair, the fane of the lady, in Caer 
" Einiawn, the city of the just, in Poajiys, the land of rest, 
" to superintend the prepara,tion of the cauldron : and she 
" had appointed a blind man, fivrm, named Morda, ruler of 
" the sea, to kindle the fire under the cauldron, with a 
" strict injunction that he should not suffer the boiling to 
" be interrupted, before the completion of the year and the 
" day, 

" In the mean time Ceridwen, with due attention to the 
" books of astronomy, and to the hours of the planets, em- 
" ployed herself daily in botanizing, and in coUecting plants 
" of every species, which possessed any rare virtiies. 

" On a certain day, about the hompTetion of the year, 
** whilst she was thus botanizing arid muttering to herself^ 


" three drops of the efficacious water happened to fly out of 
" the cauldron, and alight upon the finger of Gwion the 
*' Little. The hep,t of the water occasioned his putting his 
" finger into his mouth. 

". As soon as these precious drops had touched his lips, 
" every eveijt of futurity was opened to his view : and he 
" clearly. perceived, that his greatest concern was to beware 
"of the stratagems of Ceridwen, whose knowledge Was 
" very great, With extreme terror he fled towards his na- 
" tive couwtry. 

." As for the cauldron, it divided into two halves; for the 
" whole of the water which it contained, excepting the 
" three efficacious drops,- was .poisonous; so that it poisoned 
" the horses of Gwyddno Garanhir, which drank out of the 
" channel into which the cauldron had emptied itself. 
" Hence that channel was aftenvards called. The poison of 
" Gwyddno's horses." 

l^he most renxarkable subject brought forward in this 
ch£|,pter, is the preparation of the cauldron of inspiration, 
and science ; but before I consider the import of this mys- 
tical vase, I must make a few short remarks. 

Ceridwen enrploys a minister, who is described as the son 
of a herald, and it. may be implied that he himself held 
that office. It is observed by antiquaries, that of four 
priests who officiated in the celebration of the mysteries of 
Ceres, one was distinguished by the title of Keryx the 
Herald, Another was named Hydranus, from Wwj, water : 


atid'his tkle, though perhaps not his functioin, correspauded, 
with that of Morda in the present tale. / 

• The keeping up of a continual fire, for the period of a 
year and a day,, in a ceremony which was repeated annually, 
amounts to the same thing as maintaining a perpetual fire. 
And this was a solemn rite iji the temples of Ceres. 

Ceridwen, like Ceres and I sis, appears to have been a 
great botanist, and well skilled in the virtues of plants. 
The Pheryllt, according to whose ritual she proceeds in her 
selection, are often mentioned by the Bards, as well as by 
the prose writers of Wales. The poet Virgil, whose sixth 
iEneid treats so largely of the mysteries of heathenism, has 
been dignified with this title ; and an old chronicle, quoted 
by Dr. Thomas Williams, asserts that the Pheryllt had an 
establishment at Oxford, prior to the founding of the uni- 
versity by Alfred. 

These Pheryllt are deemed to have been the first teachers 
of all curious arts and sciences ; and, more particularly, are 
thought to have been skilled in every thing that required 
the operation of fire. Hence some have supposed, that the 
term ifnplies chymists or metallurgists. But chymistry and 
metallurgy seem rather to have taken their British name 
from these ancient priests, being called CgHnyddyAau Fhe- 
ryllt, the arts of the Pheryllt, or some of those mysteries 
in which they were eminently conversant. 

As primary instructors in the rites of Ceridwen, or Ceres^ 
I regard the Pheryllt as priests of the Fharaon, or higher 
powers, who had a city or temple amongst the mountains 
of Snowdon, called also Dinas Emrp, or the ambrosial 


city. And, therefore, iJiey were the same, in effect, as the 
priests of the Cabiri, 

Mr. Bryant assures lls, that the supposed genius of tn© 
ark was worshipped und6r several titles, and that the prin- 
cipal of her priests were the Cabiri, whose- office and rites 
were esteemed particularly sacred, and of great antiquity. 
They were the same as the Curetes, Corybantes, Telchines, 
and Idaei Dactyli of Crete. In treating of these, continues 
my author, much confusion has ensued, from not consider-, 
ing, that both the deity and the priests were comprehended 
under the same title. The original Cabiritic divinity was 
no other than the patriarch, who was of so great repute for 
his piety and justice. Hence, the other Cabiri, his im-s 
mediate offipring, are said to be the sons of Sadyc, by 
which is signified the just man. This is the very title given 
to Noah. All science, and every useful art, was attributed 
to him, and through his sons transmitted to posterity.* 

The Telckinian and Cabiritic rites, we are told by the 
same author, consisted in arkite memorials. They passed 
from Egypt and Syria into Phrygia and Pontus, from 
thence into Thrace, and the cities of Greece. They were 
carried into Hetruria, and into the regions of theCe/te.-f- 

Whatever route these ancient- priests may have pursued ; 
and whether they belonged to the original establishment 
of the nations here mentioned, or were imported from other 
people ; their rites, as described by the learned author, are 
clearly to be distinguished amongst the Celtse of Britain 5 

* Analys. V- H- p. 461. 
i Ibid. p. 471. 

and with those Fheryllt ox Druids, who directed the mys- 
teries of Ceridwen. 

'The tale before us also mentions, books of astronomy. 
Whether the Druids actually had such books or not, it is 
certain that Caesar enumerates astronomy amongst the 
sciences which they professed ; and that they not only re- 
marked the periodical return of their festivals, but also 
mixed with their arkite superstition, an idolatrous venera- 
tion of the heavenly bodies, and paid a religious regard tp 
their influence, 

I come now to the cauldron of Ceridwen, which makes 
& very conspicuous figure in the works of the mystical 
Bards, from the beginning of the sixth, to the close of the 
twelfth century. In these authors, we find the, term pair, 
OT cauldron, used metaphorically to imply the whole mass 
of doctrine and discipline, together with the confined circle 
of arts and sciences, which pertained to the ancient priest- 
hood of Britain. The preparation of this vase being a ne- 
cessary preliminary, to the celebration of their most sacred 
mysteries, it stands as a symbol of the mysteries themselves* 
and of all the benefits supposed to result from themi. 

Hence it "becomes a subject of some importance in British 
antiquities, to inquire into the meaning of this mystical 
vessel, and to determine the question, whether the ancient 
superstition of other heathens present us with any thing 
analogous to it. ^ 

From the best information which I can collect upon the 
subject, it does not appear that this cauldron implies one 
identical vessel, or at least, that its contents were designed 


for one simple purpose. In the tak before us it is described, 
as used in the preparation of a decoction of various select 
plants, which was to constitute the water of inspiration and 
science. A few drops pf this water fall upon the finger of 
the attenda;nt, he puts it i^tP hi» mouth, and immediately 
all futurity is open to his view.. Such knowledge, however, 
must not bg regarded as the result of merely tasting the 
water, or of any single c^emojay whatever ; but of a com- 
plete course of initiation, of which the tasting of this water 
was an essential rite. i 

The poem called Taliesin's Chair, enumerates a multitude 
of ingredients, which entered into the mystical decoction, 
and seems to describe it as designed, for purification by 
sprinkling, then, for the preparation of a bath, and again, 
as used in the rite of libation, and lastly, as>^constituting a 
particular kind of drink for the aspirants. The sacred vessel 
is there called Pair Pumwydd, the cauldron of the Jive trees 
or plants, alluding, I suppose, to five particular species of 
plants, which were deemed essentially requisite in the pre- 

Some of the mythological tales represent this pair, as 
constituting a bath, which conferred immortality or restored 
dead persons to life, but deprived th^m of utterance :* allud- 
ing to the o^th of secrecy f which was administered privioxis 
to mitiatiqn. 

In the poem called Preiddeu Anrmn,-\ Taliesin styles it 

• See a^r. Turner's Vindication, p. 283, 
+ Appendix, No. 3. 


the cauldron of the ruler 6ftJt£de.ep, (the aarkite go^ rshkh 
first begem to he warmed, \yy the breath of nine damsels (the 
Gwffllion, or GaUicena).* He describes it as having a lidg^ 
of pearls round its borderj and says, that it will not bdil the 
food of the cowardi who is not bound by his oeith. 

Yet the author of Hanes Taliesin, speaks of the residue 
©f the water, after the efficacious drops had been separated, 
as a deadly poison. 

From these various accounts, it may be inferred, that the 
pair, was a vessel employed by the Druids, in preparing' a 
decoction of potent herbs and other ingredients, to which 
superstition attributed some extraordinary virtues ; that this 
preparation was a preliminary to the mysteries of the arkite 
goddess ; that in those mysteries, part of the decoction was 
used for the purpose of purification by sprinkling; that 
another part was applied to the consecration of the mystic 
bath: that a smaill portion of the same decoction, was in- 
fused into the vessels which contained the liquor, exhibited 
in the great festival, for the purpose of libation, or for the 
use of the priests and aspirants, which liquor, is described as 
consisting of Gwin a Bragawd, that is, wine mth mead, and 
wort, fermented together: that all the sacred Vessels em- 
ployed in the mysteries of Ceridwen, being thus purified 
and consecrated by the pair, passed under its name ; and 
that, in these appropriations, the water of the cauldron was 
deemed the water of inspiration, science, and immortality, as 
conducing to the due celebration of mysteries, which weVe 
supposed to confer these benefits upon the votaries. 

* See tbe precfdjog Seetiqn. 


But it seems that the residue of the water, being now sup- 
posed to have washed away the mental impurities of the ini- 
tiated, with which impurities, of course it became impreg- 
nated, was now deemed deleterious, and accursed. It was 
therefore emptied into a deep pit or eAanweZ in- the earth, 
which swallowed it up, together with the sins of the rege- 

If we look for something analogous to this in the ancient 
mysteries of Ceres, we shall find, that the first ceremony 
was that of purification by water, that this rite was per- 
formed, both by crinkling and immersion; and that the 
water used for this purpose, underwent a certain degree of 
preparation, similar to that of the cauldron of Ceridwen. 

In the ceremony of purification, says M. De Gebelin, 
they used laurel, salt, parley, sea^water, and crotens oi flowers. 
They even passed through the fire, and were at lastj plunged 
into the water,, whence the hierophant, who was charged , 
with this office, had the name of Hydratips, or the Bap- 

The sacred vessel which contained this mixtnre of salt, 
barley, sea-water, and other ingredients not specified, must 
have corresponded with the mystical cauldron of the Britons, 
amongst the contents of which I find certain " berries, the 
"foam of the ocean, cresses of a purifying quality, xaort, 
" and chearful, placid vervain, which had been borne aloft, 
" and kept apart fron;i the Moon."f 

• Monde Ptimitif. Tom. IV. p. 318. j 
t Cadair Taliesin, W. Arcliaiol. p. 37, 


Thus far, the analogy, between, the purifying water of the 
Greeks and Britons, may be traced. But. the mystical 
pauldroji of Ceridwen was also employed in preparing the 
liquor of those magnanimous aspirants, who took and 
kept the oath.. It was one of its functions to boil that be- 
verage, or else a certain portion of its contents was added, 
by way of consecration to the Gwin a Bragawd, or compo- 
sition of wine, honey, water, and the extract of malt, or 

However this consecration may have been effected, the 
correspondence between the mystical beverage of the Greeks 
and Britons, will appear still more close. 

Weare told, by Clemens Alexandrinus, that as a prelude 
to initiation, the aspirant was asked, if he had eaten of the 
fruits of Ceres, to which he answered — Ex rvitzsmn {(fxyov, $» 

xVf/SuMv txnot, tKin(fiiMtit, vers Tgy 'monrov 'vErt^vov,.— " J have eaten 

" out of the drum, I have drunk ,out of the cymbal, I have 
" carried the kemos, I have been covered in the bed." 

M. De Gebelin explains the cymbal, as signifying a vessel, 
in the form of a krge goblet, out of which the aspirants 
drank a liquor, called kykeon, which was a mixture of wine, 
honetf, water, and meal; precisely the Gwin a Bragawd of 
the British Bards. 

The ancients and mytholdgists, as my author observes, 
tell us, that these symbols were intended as memorials of 
what had happened to Ceres, who, upon her 
Attica, when she was. wanderiiig in search of her daughter. 


received this liquOT from a wQBjan named Bawbb,* and 
drank it off at a sin^e dr£^ght.f 

The vessel used in th^ preparation of this miiturfe, -which 
was preseinted to Cerefe, is described by Antontiitrs Liberalis 
as AifuTO SaBvv, a deep kettle or boiler; this might, with pro- 
priety, be denominated the caraMfon of that goddess. 

But we are told, the residue of the water in Ceridwen's 
vessel, was of a poisonous quality. It now contained the 
sins and pollutions of the noviciates : the cauldron was 
therefore divided into two equal parts, and the water ran out 
of it into a certain terrestrial channel., 

This dividing of the water, and pouring of it into a^ 
channel in the earth, was a solemn rite, perfectly analogous 
to thje practice of the ancients in the mysteries of Ceres. 

The ninth and last day of the celebration of the greater 
mysteries, when all the ablutions and purifications had been 
completed, was called Plemochoe, from this name of a large 
earthen vessel, of considerable depth, and widening^ from 
the bottom upwards. 

On this day, the last of the feast, as we are informed by 
Athen3ejtis,J they filled too of these vessels with water, and 
having placed one of them towards the East, and the other 
towards the West, they moved them sideways successively, 
reciting certain prayers. When these were concluded, 
they poured the water into a kind of pit, or channel, pro- 

* 3(tVa, ia tbe ^tierhbX6l(ic, implies a nyttdcg. 
t Honde Ptimitif. as cited J>efaie» . . 
t Lib. XI. chap. t5. 


nonnciiig this piiayer, which is contained in the Pirithous 
of Euripides-^— 

" May we be able, auspiciously, to pour the water of 
" these vessels into the terrestrial sink."* 

Thus it appears that the cauldron of Ceridwen, which 
was, properly speaking, a vessel used in preparing a kind of 
purifying and consecrating water, is to be understood, in a 
figurativie sense, as corresponding with the several sacred 
vessels employed in the mysteries of Ceres : and that genim, 
icience, and immortality, the benefits supposed to be derived 
froim that cauldron, are to be considered as the imaginary 
result of initiation into those mysteries. 

But it has already been observed, that Taliesin describes 
this cauldron as having been warmed, for the first time, by 
the breath of nine damsels. This must imply, that the 
mysteries connected with the cauldron, were supposed to 
have been originally instituted by certain ym«/e hierophants. 
These were undoubtedly the Gwyllion, from whose songs 
the patriarch is fabled to have derived his presage of the 
deluge, and who continued to be represented by fanatical 
priestesses, bearing the same title, and styled Gallicene bv 
Pomponius Mela. 

Here it will probably occur to the readel^ that these nine 
mystical damsels allude to the mme muses; or that they were 
merely their representatives in British mythology. 

Th^ muses, ittdeied, were T^?irded as promoters of ge- 
iiius, as the patronesses pf science, and as conferring a kind 

' ■ ■ ■' ■ '" ' • "< "' ■ — 

* S6«. Monde Piim. Ten, ^V. p. 3S9. 


of iminortality : their sacred fountain was the fountain of 
inspiration ; but what had they to do with the mysteries 
of Ceres? 

As I wish to point out the general analogy between Bri-* 
tish fable, and that mass of superstition which pervaded 
other heathen countries, I must be allowed to suggest, that 
the muses were originally nothing more than priestesses of 
Arkite temples, or attendants on those deified characters, 
whose history is decisively referred, both bylMr. Bryant 
and Mr. Faber, to that of the ark, and the Diluvian age. 

The first songs which the muses inspired, were in the 
form of sacred hymns, containing the titles and actions of 
the gods, and describing the rites with which they were 
worshipped : if therefore, those gods, and those rites, were 
Arkite, the songs of the muses must have been the same. 

Deucalion's vessel, which was evidently the ark of Noah, 
or its representative in a Thessalian temple, is said to have 
rested upon Mount Parnassus : and the favourite ha,unt 
of the muses was about the Castalian spring, upon that 

Mr, Bryant remarks, that when the Athenians sent their 
first colony into Ionia, the muses led the way in the form 
of bees — Melissa : and adds, that the Melissa were certainly 
female attendants in the Arkite temples.* 

In the next page, the learned author tells us, that as tlie 
.priestesses of Damater (Ceres), who sung .the sacred 
hymns, were called ]\ielissiE, so that goddess and Persephone, 

-■■ ' . — ' ■ — j; ' _^_ • _ 1 ' 

., • Analysis, y.. 11, p. 376. 


had the title of Meiittodes, from the songs made in their 

The MelissiB, or muses, were therefore the priestesses of 

Osiris wasS an avowed representative of the Diluvian pa- 
triarch; and his consort, Isis, was the same character as 
Ceres, the genius of the ark : accordingly, we find the 
same nine damsels amongst their estabUshment in Egyptian 
mythology. Diodorus tells us, that Osiris was always at- 
tended by a company of musicians, amongst whom were 
nine damsels, accomplished in every art relative to music ^ 
that this was the reason why the Greeks called them the 
nine muses, and that their president was Apollo, the king's 

Taliesin is not, therefore, unclassical, when he represents 
the nine damsels as having first warnied the mystical caul- 
dron of the ruler of the deep, and the Arkite goddess. And 
this circumstance adds another link of connexion between 
the mythqlogy of Britain, and that of Greece and Egypt. 

But whence came the original idea of the purifying water, 
prepared in this celebrated cauldron f 

In the tradition of our ancestors, we find that the myst 
tical vase was peculiarly sacred to the god and goddess of 
the ark. , It must then be referred to something in the his- 
tory of the deluge f for the discovery of which, it may be 
proper to take a brief vie>v of the ideas which the Britons, 
entertained respecting that a^vful event. 



. The following circumstances may fee verified ty passages 
in the Bards and the Triads. 

The profligacy of mankind had provoked thcigrea^ Su- 
preme to send a pestilential wind upon the earth. A pure 
poison descended — every blast was death. At this time the 
patriarch,, distinguished for his integrity, was shut ' up to- 
gether with his select company, in the inclosure with the 
strong door. Here the just ones were safe from injury. Pre-: 
sently, a tempest of fire arose. It split the earth asunder, 
to the great deep. The lake Llion burst its bounds ; the 
waves of the sea lift themselves on high, round the borders 
of Britain; the rain poured down from heaven, and the 
water covered the earth. But that water was intended aa a 
lustration, to purify the polluted globe, to render it meet for 
the renewal of life, and to wash away the contagion of its 
former inhabitants into the chasms of the abyss. The flood^ 
which swept from the surface of the earth the expiring 
remains of the patriarch's contemporaries, raised his vessel, 
or inclosure, on high, from the ground, bore it safe upon the 
summit of the waves, and proved to him and his associates 
the water of life and renovation. 

Agreeably to these ideas, the cauldron which was kept 
boiling for a year and a day ; whicli purified the sacred 
utensils, and the company assembled at the mystic festival ; 
and with its dregs washed away the sins of the regenerate 
into the terrestrial channel, may have been regarded as an 
emblem of the deluge itself. 

This comes very near to the view which the learned and 
indefatigable Mr. Maurice has taken of some ancient Hin- 
doo traditions. 


But how ar£ we to account for such a coincidence in the 
mythology of nations, so widely separated i Perhaps it 
would not be an unreasonable supposition, that the rudi- 
ments of those fanciful systems, which prevailed over the 
Oen tile world, whatever changes they may have afterwards 
undergone from local corruption and mutual intercourse, 
were laid before the nations separated from the patriarchal 
stock. How are we otherwise to account for the prevalence 
of the same fabulous relations, and commemorative symr 
bols, in the East of Asia, and amongst a sequestered peo- 
ple in the West of Europe ? I am aware that this difficulty 
has generally been resolved by the supposition, that certain 
Eastern sages, in some distant age, found their way into 
tliese remote regions. But ,the experience of our country- 
men and neighbours, for the last three hundred years, may 
serve to convince us, that a new religion, essentially/ differ- 
ent from that of an established society, whether polished 
or barbarous, is not easily introduced. However this inay 
have been, it is curious to observe, in the old poems and 
tales of the Britons, and in the ancient books of the Hin- 
doos, the same train of superstitious ideas. 

The author of the Indian antiquities having told us, that 
the Soars, bemg assembled in solemn consultation, were 
meditating the discovery of the Amreeta, or water of im- 
mortality; remarks, that under this allegory is shadowed 
out the re-animation of nature, after the general desolation 
made by the deluge. The sea was to be deeply agitated by 
the impetuous rotation of the mountain Mandar. 

The author then recites the gigantic fable, which con- 
cludes thu6. " And now, a heterogeneous stream, of the 
" concocted juice of various trees and plants, ran down into 
" the briny flood. It was from this milk-like stream of 

Q ^ 


"juices, produced from those streams, trees, and planti, 
" and a mixture of melted gold, that the Soors obtained 
** their immortality." 

" Concerning these extravagant mythological details of 
*' the Hindoos (continues Mr. Maurice), I must remark, 
*' that however mysterious the allegory, and however wild 
" and romantip the language in which it is clothed, this 
" fact may he depended upon^ that there in general lies 
" concealed at the bottom some physical meaning, or deep 
" theological truth. — What can this general and stupendous 
*' convulsion of nature shadow out, except the desolation 
" of the earth, during the period of the universal deluge ! 
*' Who is that physician, so renowned in ancient Sanscrit 
"histories, the great Dew Danwantaree, who at length 
" rose from'the churned ocean, the white foam of which 
*' resembled milk, bearing in his hand a sacred ■ease, full of 
" the water of life — Unless it be the venerable sage, who 
" rose from the ocean, who gave new life to his expiring 
*' species, and in his family upheld the human race ? — ^That 
" great botanist, who first planted the vine, and returned 
" to the ground that infinite variety of medical herbs, and 
*' innumerable seeds, which — Menu is represented, as taking 
** into the ark, for the express purpose of renovating de- 

*' cayed vegetation after the deluge. Such is the true 

" meaning of this Avatar ; and such — is the true Danwan- 
*' taree of India, who sprung from the foam- of the churned 
" ocean, bearing the Amreeta, or vital ambrosia, to tlie 
" renovated world."* 

To the reader, who is not furnished with the Indian anti- 
quities, I need not apologize for the length of these ex- 

"" ^ i— I I I !■ .11.111 -III Ml iBi~ r "• • 

• Indian Autiq. "V. II. p. S70, &c. 


ti'acts; and, I trust, .the learned, author will excuse my 
making so free with his labours, in consideration of the 
light which they reflect upon the renovating cauldron of 
Ceridwen, and the ruler of the deep, and perhaps also 
upon the k«xeb», or sacred mixture of the Arkite goddess, 
and her renovating mysteries. But to return to the British 


" Ceridwen entering just at this moment, and perceiving 
" that her whole year's labour was entirely lost, seized an 
" oar, and struck the blind Morda upon , his head, so that 
" one of his eyes dropped upon his cheek. 

" Thou hast disfigured me wrongfully, exclaimed Morda, 
" seeing I am innocent : thy loss has not been occasioned by 
" any fault of mine," 

" True, replied Ceridwen, it was Gwion the Little who 
" robbed me. Having pronounced these words, she began 
" to run in' pursuit of him. 

" Gwion perceiving her at a distance, transformed him- 
" self into a hare, and doubled his speed: but Ceridwen 
" instantly becoming a greyhound bitch, turned him, and 
" chased him towards a river. 

" Leaping into the stream, he assumed the form of a 
" ^sh : but his resentful enemy, who was now become aa 


" otter hitch, traced him through the stream ; so that he 
" was obliged to take the form of a bird, and mount into 
" the air. 

" That element afforded him no refuge ; for the lady, in 
" the form of a sparrow hawk was gaining upon him — she 
" was just in the act of pouncing him. 

" Shuddering with the dread of death, he perceived a 
" heap of clean wheat upon a floor, dropped into the midst 
" of it, and assumed the form of a single grain. 

" Ceridwen took the form of a Hack, high-crested hen, 
" descended into the wheat, scratched him out, distin- 
" guished and swallowed him. And, as the history relates, 
" she was pregnant of him nine months, and when delivered 
" of him, she found him so lovely a babe, that she had not 
" resolution to put him to death. 

" She placed him, however, in a coracle, covered with a 
" skin, and, by the instigation of her husband, cast him 
" into the sea on the twenty-ninth of April" 

Through the fabulous wildness of this chapter, we may 
discover constant allusions to the history of Certes, and her 
mystical rites. Ceridwen here assumes the character of a 
fury. Under that idea, she is elsewhere represented. Ta- 
liesin says of himself, that he had been nine months in the 
womb of Ceridwen Wrach, the hag, or fury. This fury 
was the goddess of death. The death of Arthur is implied, 
by his contending with the fury in the hall cf Glaston" 


hary.* And, as Ceridwen was the genius of a sacred ship, 
®o death, of which she was the goddei 
the character of the ship of the earth. 

®o death, of which she was the goddess, is represented under 

Pawb a ddaw i'r Ddqear Long,\ says the Bard — " Every 
" one will come into the ship of the earth ;" that is, all rnen 
must die. 

All this is strictly applicable to Ceres, considered as the 
genius of the airk. She was sometimes enrolled in the list of 
the Furies.'!^ Under this character she seems to have re- 
presented the terror and consternation, to which the pa- 
triarch and his family were exposed during the deluge. 

She was also the goddess of dea^/«. When the ark was 
constructed, Noah made a door in its side ; a circumstance 
continually commemorated by the Gentile writers. The 
entrance through this door, they esteemed a passage to death 
and darkness.^ Hence the aspirants, in the mysteries of 
Ceres and Isis, as well as Gwion, in our British tale, were 
terrified with the image of death. 

" Nothing can he conceived more solemn, than the rites 
" of initiation into the greater mysteries, as described by 
" Apuleius and Dion Chrysostom, who had gone through 
" the awful ceremony : nothing more tremendous and ap- 
" palling, than the scenery exhibited before the eyes of the 
'i terrified aspirant. It was a rude and fearful march, tiirough 
" night and darkness— and now, arrived on the verge of 

• W. Archaiol. p. 67 

+ Ibid. p. 322. 

J Bryant's Analysis^ V. I. p. 48S. 

i Ibid. V. II p. 257. 


" death and initiation, every thing wears a dreadful aspect ; 
" it is all horror, trembling, and astonishment: — * Accessi 
" confinium mortis, says Apuleius, et calcato proserpinee 
" limine, per omnia vectus element^ remeavi."f 

But let us proceed to consider the incidents of the story — 
Ceridwen seizes an oar, and strikes the Damon of the sea 
upon his head. 

The instrument was a proper symbol to be employed by 
the genius of a Routing vessel, and the action an emblem of 
her triumph over the wdte/ry element. 

The goddess then transforms herself into a bitch. How- 
ever degrading the symbol, these animals seem to have 
had a particular connexion with the mysteries of Ceres and 

Vijgil, in the sixth book of his iEneid, describes all that 
it was lawful to reveal of the Eleusinian mysteries ; and we 
find that the first terrific objects which presented them'- 
selves to the senses of his hero, whilst the priestess was con-, 
ducting him towasds the mystic river, were in the form of 
iitches.-^X Fisaque capes ylulare per umbras. | 

Upon this passage, M. De Gebelin remarks — ^[Pl^thon 

• " I apptoacbed the conflnes of death, smd having nearly trodden the thres- 
'* hold 6{ Fiosperine, I returned, being ca^rie^ t^iou^h aU the eleo^ents." 

i See Ind. Antiq. V. II. p. 312, &c. 

% And bitche.3 seem to howl amidst the gloom. 

J V. 257. 

H Fletho, in his notes upon the magical pracles of Zoioaster, also speaks of 
the dogs mentioned by Virgil, It is th^ custom, saya he, in the celebration of 
the mysteries, to exhibit to the initiated certain fantoms, iij tU$ figure oX dog^s^ 
Qn4 (ROQy otb^r monstfons spectres and apparitions. 

(Scholies sur les oracles magiques de Zoroastre) parle aussi des 
chiens, dont Virgile fait mention. Cest la contume, dit il, 
dans la celebration des mystereSj-^de-faire paroitre devant 
les initios, des fant6mes, sous la figure des vhiens, et plu- 
sieurs aiitres spectres et visions monstreuses."* 

In the sculpture which, according to this author, repre- 
sents the Eleusinian cave, Ceres is attended by a dog, and 
the aspirant in the form of a child, is brought into the cave 
by another dog.-^ 

Plutarch tells us, that Isis was assisted by certain dogs, 
in the discovery of Anubis, the child of Osiris, whom his 
mother had exposed, because she dreaded the anger of 

This child, the. goddess adopted and educated ; he became 
her companion and faithful guard. He had the name of 
Anubis, because he displayed . the same vigilance in the 
cause of the gods, which dogs manifested in behalf of their 
human masters. 

The tale, as here related, can only be regarded as the his- 
tory of an aspirant, who was initiated into the mysteries of 
Isis, instructed in the rites and discipline of her temple, and 
afterwards became her priest. 

Mt. Bryant quotes the authority of Diodosus, who in- 
foiTns us, that at the grand celebration of Isis, the whole 
solemnity was preceded by dogs. This author indeed, pro- 
duces.^ many instances of gods, and their representatives, the 

• Mpnde Primitif. Tpbj. IV. p. 33fi. 

+ im- p. 339. 


priests being termed K3mf,dogs; but he attributes this title 
to the ignorance of the Greeks, who, according to him, 
mistook the Hebrew and Egyptian term, cohen, a priest, for 
Kvut, which in their own language, implies a dog.* 

But, as the mythology of other nations, not intimately 
connected with the Greeks, and who did not use their vo- 
cabulary, furnishes, us with a similar application of eqniva- 
lent titles ; and as gods sad priests, with dogs' heads, appear 
in Egyptian, and other foreign monuments ; it may be sus- 
pected, that there was something more in these titles, than 
a mere blunder of the Greeks. 

Agreeably to Plutarch's hint, there may have been some 
allusion to the fidelity, vigilance, and sagacity of the animal. 
And whatever served to keep aloof profane intrusion, and 
defend the awful sanctity of the temple, may have been 
symbolized by the guardian dog. Thus the dog of Gwyn ab 
Nudd, the British. Pluto, is named Dor-Marth,-\ the gate 
of sorrow: this was no real dog, but probably the same as 
the Proserpina Limen, which Apuleius approached in the 
course of initiation. 

These particulars may suffice to account for the device of 
our British mythologist, in transforming Ceridwen, the 
Ceres or Isis of the Druids, into a bitch ; whilst the aspirant 
was converted into a hare. This animal, as we learn from 
Caesar, was deeHied sacred by the Britons ; at the same time 
it was an emblem of timidity, iiitimating the great terror to 
wbich the noviciate was ex|)osed, during the mystical 

» See Analysis, V. I. p. 40. 108. 329,' &c. 
t W. ArChaiol. p. 166. 


This hare is turned, and driven towards a, river. But he 
is still in the road to initiation. After the preparation of the 
consecrated water, and the k.vk£uv, the first ceremony in the 
mysteries of the Greeks, was that of purification, which was 
celebrated, upon the banks of rivers. The Athenians per- 
formed this ceremony at Agra, on the Ilissus, a river of 
Attica. Hence the banks of that river were called the 
mystic banks, and the stream itself had the name of ©tswesio?, 
the divine. 

Here our noviciate takes the form of a fish, whilst the 
goddess herself, or rather her priest, assumes the character 
of an otter. If xukj, dogs, represented heathen priests in ge- 
neral, and especially those of Ceres and Isis ; the otter, or 
water dog, may very aptly typify the priest, called Hydranps, 
who always attended those mystieries, and whose ofiice it 
was to plunge the aspirant into the stream. 

The next change of the aspirant was into a bird. The 
ispecies is not named. It was probably the Dryw, which 
implies both a wren and a Driiid; and Taliesin tells us that 
he had been in that form. His adversary became a hawk; 
but we are told, that the hawk was a known symbol of 

At last, the novitiate becomes a grain of pure wheat, and 
mixes with an assemblage of the same species and character. 
He was now cleansed from all his impurities, and he had 
assumed a form, which was eminently sacred to Ceres. In 
this form, therefore, the goddess receives him into her bo- 
som. In order to accomplish this design, she transforms 

• Iqd. Antiq. Y- H- P- 348. 


herself into a hen, wliich was , deemed a sacred animal by 
the Britons, ,in the days of Caesar-* 

The singular representation of Ceridwen, as swallowing 
the aspirant ; and of the latter, as continuing for a consi- 
dfirahle time imprisoned in her womb, must imply some- 
thing more than his mere introduction into the sanctuary. 
This aspirant was intended for the, priesthood: and we have 
here the history of his inclosure, in some ship, cell, or 
cave, which more immediately symbolized the person of the 
mystical goddess, In this inclosure, he was subjected to 
a rigid course of discipline. Here he studied the fanati- 
cal rites, and imbibed the sacred doctrines of Ceridwen. 

This is consonant with the practice of other heathens. 
Porphyry, in his treatise, De Antra Nympharum, tells us, 
that Zoroaster consecrated a natural ceU, adorned with 
flowers, and watered with fountains, in honour of 'Mithra, 
the of the universe : and that the Persians, iatending 
mystically, to represent the desc€;nt of the soul into an in- 
ferior nature, and its subseqiient ascent, into the intellec- 
tual world, initiated the priest, — in caverns, or places so fa- 
bricated as to jesemble them.-)' 

I shall return to this subject in a future section, when I 
inquire into the nature of some of the monuments of Dru- 
idism. But I must now remark, that as the completion of 
the initiatory rites was deemed by the Gentiles a regene- 
ration, or new birth, and distinguished by that name; so 
our aspirant is represented as having been born again, of 
the mystical Ceridwen. 

• Vide De Bello Gallico, L. V. C. 18. 
+ See Ifii. Antiq. V. II. p. 24?. 


As yet, however, we seem to have been only contemplat- 
ing the lesser mysteries — the greater are still to succeed. 

After the aspirant had completed his course of discipline 
in the cell, had gone through the, ceremonies of the lesser 
mysteries, and had been born a^ain of Ceredweh ; we are 
told, that this goddess inclosed him in a small boat, covered 
with skin, and cast him into the sea. 

This will be best explained by the Greek solemnities. 

The first day of the greater mysteries of Ceres, was called 
Agyrme, the convocation, being destined to the reception, 
ablution, and purification of the candidates. 

The second day had the natne of "aAkJe M»rai, " Noviciates 
" to the sea:" this being the form by which the herald sum- 
moned those who had passed through the lesser mysteries, 
to the sea shore, for the purpose, as some have supposed, 
of completing their purification; but the ceremony seems 
to have had a further meaning, and it is probable, that on 
this day, the noviciates embarked upon the sea in certain 
vessels, commemorative of the real history of Ceres, as ge- 
nius of the floating ark : for, in these mysteries, the whole « 
truth was to be revealed. Accordingly we are told, that 
Phocion, the Athenian general, taking advantage of this 
day's solemnity, put to sea, and engaged the enemy in a 
naval combat.* But let us observe the progress of the Bri- 
tish ceremony. 

• PIul. in Vita Phor. 


lilmS f AOESIN.— Chap. IV. 

" In thdse times, Gwyddno's wear stood out in the beach, 
" between Dyvi and Aberystwyth, near his own castle, 
" And in that wear, it was usual to take fish, to the value 
" of a hundred pounds> every year, upon the eve of the 

" first of May. 

" Gwyddno had an only son, named Elphin, who had 
" been a most unfortunate and necfessitous young man. 
" This was a great affliction to his father, who began to 
" think that he had been bom in an evil hour. 

" His counsellors, however, persuaded the father to let 
" this son have the drawing of the wear on that year, by 
" way of experiment; in order to prove whether any good 
"fortune would ever attend- him, and that he might have 
" something to begin the world. 

" The next day, being May-eve, Elphin examined the 
." wear, and found nothing : but as he was going away, he 
" perceived the coracle, covered with a skin, resting upon 
" the pole of the dam. 

" Then one of the wearmen said to him, Thou hast never 
" been completely unfortunate before this night ; for now 
" thou hast destroyed the virtue of the wear, in which the 
^' value of a hundred pounds was always taken upon the 
" eve of May-day. ~ 

" How so ? replied Elphin — that coracle may possibly 
" contain the value of a hundred pounds. 


" The skin was opened, and the opener perceiving the 
" forehead of an infant, said to Elphin — Behold Taliesin, 
" radiant front ! 

" Madiant front he his name, rephed the pjince, who 
" now lifted the infant in his arms, commiserating his own 
" misfortune, ^and placed him hehind him upon his own 
" horse, as if it had,heen in the most easy chair, 

" Immediately after this, the habe composed for Elphin 
" a song of consolation and praise ; at the same time, he 
" prophesied of his future renown. The consolation was 
" the first hymn which Taliesm sung, in order to comfort 
>' Elphin, who was grieved for his disappointment: in the 
'-* draught of the weai; ; and still more so, at the thought 
" that the world would impute the fault and misfortune 
" wholly to himself." 

Elphin carries the new-horn babe to the castle, and pre- 
sents him to his father, who demands whether he was a 
human being or a spuit; and is answered in a mystical 
song, in which he professes himself &■ general primary 
Bard, who had existed in all ages, and identifies his own 
char.acter with that of the sun. 

Gwyddno, astonished at his proficiency, demands ano- 
ther song, and is answered as follows : 

Ar y dwr mae cjfflwr, Stc* 

» W.Arcliaiol., p. 76. 


" Water has the property of Conferring A blessing. It is 
" meet to think rightly of God. It is meet to pray earnestly 
" to God ; because the benefits which proceed from him, 
" cannot be impeded. 

" Thrice have I been born. I know how to meditate. It 
" is woeful that men will not come to seek all the sciences 
" of the world, which are treasured in my bosom ; for I 
♦' know all that has been, and all that will be hereafter," &c. 

Let us now make a few observations upon our jnytholo- 
gist's account of Ihose mystic rites, to their final com- 

I have already taken notice, that Taliesin, radiant front, 
was, properly a title of the sun, and thence transferred to 
his priest. This priest had now, for a complete year, at- 
tended the preparation of the mystical cauldron i he had 
received the water of inspiration, and with it the sacreJ 
lessons of Ceridwen : he had been received and swallowed 
up by that goddess, and had remained for some time in her 
womb, or had been subjected to a course of discipline in 
the mystical cell, and at length he had been born again. 

But after this, we find him inclosed in a coracle, or small 
boat, cast into the sea, and consigned into the hands of 
Gwyddno Garanhir, and hi's son Elphin. 

The very process here described, evidently relates to a 
connected Series of mystical rites, allusive to one history t 
and the character and connexions of Ceridwen, the great 


ageilt, compared with the import of the mysteries of Ceres, 
teis elucidated by Mr. Bryant and- Mr. Faber, abundantly 
prove, that the reference must be made to the history of th 

According to this tale, therefore, the Britons celebrated 
the commemoration of the deliverance out of the ark upon 
the eve of May-day. And if they supposed the deluge to 
feave continued for a year and a day,^ the: period which, was 
employed in preparing the mystical cauldron, the anniver- 
sary of its commencement would fall, of course, upon the 
twenty-ninth of April. 

As Ceridwen threw the coracle into the sea upon that 
day, so opportune for .the- drawing' of Gwddno's wear on 
the morrow, it may be inferred, that Gwyddno and his son 
Were intimately connected with the family of Ceridwen. 
Taking all circumstances into account, we may even pre- 
sume, that they were the same as her husband Tegid, and 
her unfortunate son Avagddu. 

Tegid, indeed, is said to have had two sons, whereas 
Gwyddno is described as having but one at this time : but it 
may be yeplied, that Morvran, the raven of the sea, had de- 
sertted his family, previous to the debarkation from the ark. 

The idea here suggested respecting Gwyddno, differs 
from the received opinion of- the Welsh, which Mr. Owen 
thus details in his Cambrian Biography. 

" Gwyddno Garanhir, or Dewrarth Wledig, was a Prince 
" of Cantrev j Gwaelod, and also a poet, some of' whose 
" composition is in the, Welsh Archaiology. He flourished, 

" frbm about A. D. 460, to 520. Thfe whole of his terri- 
" tory was invtndatecl by the sea in his life-time, and it 
" forms the present Cardigan Bay." 

The whole of this account, though literally understood 
in the country, appears to me nothing more than a piece of 
local mythology, of the same kind as those tales, which 
assert the submersion of cities in the lakes of Wales.- But 
let us hear the record of the catastrotphe, as preser>ved io 
the Triads. 

" Seithinin the Drunkard, the son df Seithin Saidi, King 
"of Dyved, in his liquor let in the sea, over Cantre'r 
" Gwaelod, so as to destroy all the houses and lands &f the 
" place, where, prior t6 that event, -there had been sixteen 
** cities, the best of all the towns and cities of Wales, ex.- 
" cepting Caerleon upon Usk. This district was the domi- 
" nion of Gwyddnaw Garanhir, King of Caredigiawn. 
" The event happened in the time of Mmrys, the sovereign. 
" The men who escajied the inundation, came to land in 
" A'rdudwy, in the regions of Arvon, and in the mountains 
" of Snowdon, and other places which had hitherto been 
" uninhabited." * 

This is, undoubtedly, the substance of an old Mabinogi, 
or mythological tale, and ought not to be received as au- 
thentic history. Eor, in the first place, Cardigan Bay did 
e^^t in the time of Ptolemy, who marks the promontories 
by which it is circumscribed, and the mouths of the nvers 
which it receives, in nearly the same relative situations 
which they retain at present. But neither Ettdemy, nor 

» W. Archaiol. V. II. p. 64. 

any other aiioient geographer, takes notice of owe of those 
sixteen cities, >vhich are said to fhave been los.fe there in the 
sixth century. 

In the next place, we know enotigh of the geography of 
Wales, both ancient and modern, to form a decisive con- 
clusion, that a single Cantrev, or hundred, neyer did con- 
tain sixteen ito>v;ns, which would ibear the slightest compa- 
rison with Caerleon, siKjh as it was in the supposed age of 

Again; the incident is generally represented as having 
happened, in consequence of having neglected to close a 
sluice; a cause inadequate, surely, to the alleged effect. 
And the omission is imputed to a son of Seithin Saidi, King 
of Dyved, a character whom we have already traced into 
the regions of mythology. We have marked his intimate 
connexion with the history of the deluge, and the mystic 
rites by which it was commemorated, and have ascertained 
his identity with Tegid, the husband of Geridwen. 

The landing of those who' escaped from this drowned 
country, upon the mountains of Snowdpn, is like the land- 
ing of Deucalion upon Mount Parnassus. It is not his- 
tory, but mythology. The district of Snowdon, from the 
remotest period of -British mythology, was famous for its 
Arkite memorials. Here was the city of Mmrys, or the 
ambrosial city — this was also called the city of Fhardon, or 
■tlie higher powers ; that is, the J^aalim, or AiJiite patriarchs. 
Here the dragons were concealed in the time of Beli* (the 
solar deity), and in the time of Prydain, ihe son of Aedd 

E 2 

— — — ■ . - ■ '• ^ r- rrr-'T— 

• W.ArchBiol. V. 11. p.59. 

ike Great j'^ a mystical personage o/ the Same family* As 
dragons were harnessed, in the car of the British Ked, as 
well as in that of Ceres, the concealing of these animals, 
in a city of the higher powers, must imply an establish- 
ment of her mysteries. 

The land of Gwyddno is said to have been inundated in 
the time of Emrys, the sovereign. This is the parsonage 
from whom the temple of Stonehenge, as well as the sacred 
city in Snowden, derived its name. . If the Britons of the 
fifth century had a monarch who bore this title, we can 
only say, that like his successors Uthyr anc( Arthur, he was 
complimented with a name out of the vocabulary of the 
Druids; and that the age otEmrys was any age, which ac-» 
knowledged the Helio-arkite superstition. 

Let us then return to the dominions of Gwyddnaw. We 
are told that , his castle stood near the shore, between Dyvi 
and Aberystwyth: atid that his wear, in which a valuable 
capture was annually made, upon the eve of Mdy-day, was 
near that castle, in the opposite beach. This gives the same 
topography of the coast which we find at present ; and the 
stated period of the capture points to some mystical mean- 
ing. It connects the tale of Gwyddnaw with that of Ce- 
ridwen, who chose the time and place, in the exposure of 
the. coracle, so conveniently for its recovery in the mystical 
wear, upon the sacred eve. Hence we may expect to find, 
that Gwyddnaw was the same character as Seithinin, or 
Serthin, who introduced the sea over the land, and conse- 

• W. Arclisiol. V, U. p. 55. 


«juently tlic same as Tegid; or a representative of the great 

His name seems to imply pn'esf of the ship, from Gziiydd, 
presence, attendance, and Now, an old term for a ship, 
which is retained by Taliesin and, Meugant.* 

This prince had the surname or title of Garanhir, which 
literally means, the long or high crane. Ag to the propriety 
of this title, it has been already seen, that the tauriform 
god, of the continental Celtae, was styled Tri-garanos, from 
the circumstance of his carrying three cranes ; and I may 
add, that Mr. Bryant has remarked the same symbolical bird, 
in the HeHo-arkite superstition of other nations. The Egyp- 
tian crane, Abis or Ibis, he tells us, for its great services to 
mankind, was held in high honour, being sacred to the god 
of light. He adds that Geranos, the Greek name of this 
bird, was a title of the sun himself, and that the priest of 
Cybele, the same character as our Ceridwen, was styled 
Camas, which was a title of the deity whom he sei-ved, and 
of the same purport as the former, f 

-The names Gwyddnaw and Garanhir appear, therefore, 
to have had a marked reference -to Arkite superstition, and 
to the character of Ceres, or Cybele. 

But, as the mythological personages of the Britons, 

* Mai ymsawdd jn llyn lieb Navo 

W. Archaiol. p. 27. 
Myned e Fenai cyn ni'm bu Naw- 

Ibid. p. 159. 

t See Analysis, V. I. p. 47. ' 

V we advert to the natural history of the crane, he is an aquatic bird, and a 
great fisher ; so Gwyddnaw was a Vilwiian priest, aud afisher of men. 


thougTi few in 1-eality, are honoured with a multiplicity of 
titles, importing the various functions which they filled, or 
alluding to the several circumstances of their history ; so 
the same GwyddftaVv is distinguished by the liairie of Dew- 
rarth Wledig. The first of these terms implies the mightif 
bear, and k nearly synoriyitious with Arthnr, the mytholo- 
gical representative of the patriarch: whilst Wledig is a 
title of such eminent dignity, that it is only applied to so-« 
vereigns of tlie highest' order. 

Elphin, the sori of this persofiage, is represented as having 
beeii a most forlorn and unfortunate character, previous to 
the opening of the coracle, or mystical ark ; but afterwards 
he became illustrious. As the preparation of the cauldron 
was designee^ for the beiiefit of Avagddu, and the drawing of 
the wear, for that of Elphih, and as these mystical rites had 
a mutual coiinexion and dependence, 1 think it highly 
probable, that under these two names, we have a description 
of the same personage. 

The mystical poems r'epreseiit Maelgwn, as having con- 
fined Elphin in a strong stone tower. This may be mere 
mythology, or it liiay imply, that the Venedotian king of 
that name, prohibited some of the heathenish rites of the 

Be this a,s it may, wfe find that Taliesin, the great presi- 
dent of the Bards, devotes himself intirely to the interest of 
Elphin, styles him his sovereign, and drops many hints, 
which evidently place him in the connexion of the British 
Ceres. Thus — " I came to Tegaiiwy, to maintain the con- 
" test with Maelgwn, the greatest of delinquents : in the 


" presence of the Distributor, I liberated my lord, even 
" Elphin, the sovereign of those who carry ears af corn."* 

The chief of the Bards seldom assumes the character of a 
prophet, without adverting to this great atchieveDqent of 
liberating Elphin ; it was his most brilliant enterprize, in 
which he was assisted, even by a train of radiant Seraphim. 
In short, he always speaks of this act, with as ipuch self- 
importance, as if he were delivering an oracle, or interpret- 
ing the will of a present god. 

Taliesin himself was honoured with a title of the sun : he 
presided in Sidi, which, as I shall shew hereafter, was 
a type of the Zodiac, and he claimed the viceroyalty of the 
Britisli island, by the investiture of the Helio-arkite god, 
the acknowledged emperor of the earth and seas. We may 
therefore be sure, that when he speaks of Elphin, not only 
as his Zort?, but as the sovereign of all the disciples of Dru- 
idism, he regarded him, as in some sense, identified with 
that splendid divinity. The same thing may be inferred 
from another title of Elphin, namely, Rhuvawn Bevyr, he 
who radiantly shines forth. 

The son of Gwyddnaw, distinguished by this appellation, 
is styled Gwyndeym, the blessed or illustrious sovereign.\ 
He is also called Eurgelain, the golden body, and ranked 
with Madawc mab Brwyn, the benificeM son, of Sprigs, and 
Ceugant Beilliazeg, searcher of certain truth ; two ideal per- 
sonages who seem to have presided over the art of divination, 
of oracular mystery. And we are told, <that Elphin had 

• Appendix, No. 1. 

t W. Arohiol, V. II. p. 3 and m. 


this name, because he was tedeemed, at his weight in g6l3, 
when he had fallen into the hand of the enemy.* 

Hyioel, the son of Owen, prince of North Wales, says of 
this personage- 
Ton wen orewyn orwlych bedd, 
Gwyddfa Ruvawn Bevyr, Ben Tieymedd'f 

" The white wave, with its foamy edge, sprinkles the 
" grave; even the mount of .the presence of Ehuvawa 
" Bevyr, the chief of sovereigns." 


These and similar titles^ which the Triads and niysticji 
Bards confer upon Gwyddnaw and his son, are surely in- 
applicable to the lords of a single Cantred, which was now 
lyii>g in the bottom of Cardigan bay. Their story has been 
misunderstood; and the titles which primarily belonged 
to the Helio-arkite patriarch, were transferred to those 
priests who supplied his place, in certain departments of the 
mystic rites ; and particularly, in the finishing scene^ where 
the truth was to be revealed. 

Here the noviciate was committed to the sea, which repre- 
sented the deluge, in a close cordch, the symbol of the arh} 
and after the example of the just patriarchy was to be saved 
from this image of the flood, at Gwyddnaw's' ©eor, the type 
of the mount of debarkation. 

This wear, I conjecture, from its marked topography. 

• W. Archaiol. V. II.' p. 15 and 69. 

+ Ibid. v. in. 



was no other than the natural causeway, or reef of rocks, in 
Cardigan bay, which the Welsh call Sam Badrig. 

With these ideas, the poems ascribed to Gwyddnaw, ex« 
actly correspond. They seem to be nothing more than old 
songs,' designed to be chaunted at these mystical representa- 
tions; but their style and orthography are so very un- 
coutli, tha;t it is difficult to ascertain the meaning of some 

One of them is said to have been sung at the time, 
when the sea covered the land of Gwyddnaw. It con- 
tains an imprecation upon some damsel who poured the sea 
over the land. 

This Nereid or Fury, is described as— 

Fynnawn wenestyr mor terwyn — 

*' The attendant on the fountain of tlie raging sea." The 
calamity, as usual, is ascrib^ to the prevalence of pride 
and excess. The water covers the plains. They call, in their 
extreme distress, upon God, who had provided the chait of 
Kedazel, the Beneficent, whichis a title of the Arkite god- 
dess, as a place of refuge. Here Gwyddnaw, the priest of 
tht ship, confines himself in his chamber, and is preserved 
from the calamity, 

The subject of another of these poems is a contention, 
between Gwyddnaw and Gwyn ab Nudd, the Demon- who 
presided over Annwn, the deep, or abyss. 

I shall attempt the translation of another ^tt^e po^n, 
^.scribed to Gwyddnaw, as it throws considerable light upon 


bis character and office. It is evidently a formula in the 
celebration of the mystical rites. It pertains to the cere- 
, mony of inclosing the aspirant in the coracle, and launching 
him into the water, as described in Hams Taliesin, and the 
reputed author supports the dignity of Hierophant. 

The Probationer, seeing the wear, or Sam Badrig, at a 
prodigious distance, and tremUing at the thought of the 
perilous adventure, exclaims, 

" Though I love the sea beach, I dread the open sea ; a 
" billow inay come, undulating over the stone," 

To this, the solemn Hierophant replies — ' 

" To the brave, to the magnanimous, to the amiable, to 
" the generous, who boldly embarks, the ascending stone of 
" the Bards reill prove the harbour of life ! It has asserted th& 
f.' praise of Heilyn, the mysterious impeller of the sJttf; 
" andj till the doom shall its symbol be continued'' 


" Though 1 love the strand, I dread the ^ave : great has 
" been its violence — dismal t,he overwhelming stroke. Even 
" to him who survives, it will be the subject of lamen- 
" tation." 


" It is a pleasant act, to wash on the bosem of the 
" fair water. Though it fill the receptacle, it will not 
" disturb the heart. My associated train regard not its 
" overwhelming. 

" As for him who repented of his enterprize, the lofty 


" (wave) has hurried the babler far awTay to his death j 
" but the brave/ the magnanimous will find his cdmpensa- 
" tion, in arriving safe at the stones. The conduct ofiJiB 
" water will declare thy merit." 

(The Hieropliant then addresses the timid j or rejected can- 

" Thy coming without external purity, is a pledge that 
" I will not receive thee. — Take out the gloomy one! — 
^' From my territory have I alienated the rueful steed — my 
<' revenge, lipon the shoal of earth-worms, is their hopeless 
*" longing, for the pleasant allotment. Out of the recep- 
** tacle wliich is thy aversion, did I obtain the eain- 

*' BOW."* 

This little piece throws more light upon the character and 
office of Gwyddnaw, than half a volume of hypothetical 
reasoning could have done. 

He performs that Very ceremony, which Hanes Tdliesin 
ascribes to Ceridwenj the Arkite goddess, upon the imtiga, 
tion of her husband. He was then, that husband ; or he 
was a priest, who personally represented the deified patriarch: 
and upon certain stated daysy exhibited an eniblem of the 
deluge, by turning his noviciates a drift in Cardigan hay, 
At the mouth of the Ystiisyth, Styctuis, or Stys!, of the 
Druids, and in covered coracles> which were manifest sym- 
bols of the ark. The worthy candidate was encouraged to 
adventure in this hardy probation, with the prospect of 
being fished up again at the latiding place of the Bards, 
when the tide, or pretended deluge had subsided. 

♦ W. Archaiol, p. 165. 


Gwyddnaw and his assistants, ought to have been wa)! ac- 
quainted with the setting of the currents, though it be 
fairly admitted, that occasionally, they made a sacrifice to 
the deep. 

The doctrine inculcated by this perilous ceremony, is suf- 
ficiently obvious. The same superintending providence, 
which had protected the magnanimous and amiable patriarch, 
from the waters of the deluge, would likewise distinguish 
his worthy descendants ; and by conducting them in safety 
to the sacred landing place, ascertain their due admissioii 
to the privileges of the Baidic religion. At the same time, 
the very form and condition of this ceremony must have de- 
terred the pusilanimous candidate, as well as him that was 
conscious of secret crimes. 

Fortunately, this was the last hazardous scene in the ini- 
tiatory rites of the Druids. For we find, that as soon as 
Elphin had extricated the aspirant from his coracle, he re- 
ceived him in his arms, gently lifted him upon his steed, or 
into his ship, for such were the mythological steeds of the 
Britons, conducted him to. his father, and acknowledged 
him a Complete Bard of the highest order. 

The old Bards speak in magnificent terms, of the benefits 
which were derived from these mysterious rites. They were 
viewed as most important, to the happiness of human life. 
They imparted sacred science in its greatest purity and per- 
fection ; a,nd he who had completed his probation, Mas 
called Dedwydd, one zcho has recovered intelligence, or rather, 
has been brought back into the presence. It is nearly equi- 
valent to the Greek term, Ettoot^k, which describes a person 
who had beeft initiated into the greater mysteries. 


tlpon this subject, the little poem said to have been re-» 
cited hy Taliesin, immediately after he had gone through 
the cqncluding ceremony, is worthy of remark. He dcr 
scribes himself as thrice born, that is, once of his natural pa- 
rent, once of Ceridwen, and lastly of the mystical coracle. 
As a consequence of this regeneration, he knew how to 
think rightly of God; he perceived that the benefits derived 
from him could not be impeded. All the sacred science of 
the world was treasured in his bosom ; he knew all that had 
been, and all that would be hereafter. 

This epilogue to the mysteries in its present form, has 
two stanzas more than what I have translated : in one of 
these, the Bard acknowledges a Divine Providence ; but h6 
introduces a christian idea, representing the son of Mary a.t 
the pledge of his happiness. 

He then tells us, that God, the true Cresitor of heaven, 
with whom he had a sure refuge, had been Kis instructor, 
and his guardian, and that he would finally take hiin to 

Thus the author, whoever he was, mixes his Bardism 
with some reference to the christian system. But, as his 
reflections result from the celebration of rites, which Were 
certainly heathenish, we cannot doiibt, but that tli^y Were 
of the same kind with the formula which had been usfed"by 
his heathen predecessors, upon the same occasion. And 
how exactly his sentiments, making allowance for his chris- 
tian allusions, corresponded with those which resulted from 
the mysteries of Ceres, may be learned from thegreat 
Bishop Warburton. 


iUs lordship, having remaxkei Jthe divisloji of ^tlje Eleii-' 
sinian mysteries, into thje /e«s ;a»4 the gi-eater ; and having 
Btated, that in the former, was inculcated the general be- 
lief of a Providelice, and a future state, ^i^d that they were 
only preparatpry to the greater — thus proceeds — 

" But there was one insuperable obatacle in .paganism, 
" to a life of purity afld holiness, which was the vicious 
" exaiiq)les of their gods." — '—" There was ^ ixecessity 
" therefore of remedying this evil, which could only be 
" done by striking at the root of it; so that such of the 
" initiated, ias were judged capable, were made acquainted 
" \yith the -w.bple .delusiojj. The mystagogue taught them, 
*' th?kt Jupiter, Mercury, Venus, Mars, gnd the whole 

rab.Me of licentious deities, were indeed, .only <?e«d Twor- 
" tals, subject in life, to the same passions glnd vices with 
" themselves; but having been, in several instances bene- 
" factors to mankind, grateful posterity had deified them ; 
" and with their virtues, had indiscreetly canonized their 
" vices. The fabulous gods being thus routed, the supreme 
" cauie of all things of course, took their place: him 
" they were taught to consider, as the Creator of the uni- 
" verse, who pervaded all things by his virtue, and go- 
" verned all things by his providence, from this time, the 
" initiated had the title of E'womTii;, or, one that sees thhigs as 
" they are, mthout disguise ; whereas, before he was called 
" Mvrm., which hfis a contrary signification."* 



* Diriue Legatira, V, I. p. 14B. 


I hav« now considered the whole of that singular story, 
called Hanes Talusin: I have shewn, that it relates to a 
succession of ceremonies, by which the ancient Britons 
commemorated the history of the deluge; and that these 
ceremonies had a constant analogy with the mystical rites of 
Ceres and Isis, which our best mythologists regard as me- 
morials of the same event. 

The narrator seems to have abridged his tale iteaa a 
larger history, or taradition, to which be refers; and, per- 
haps, he has added a few touches of his own. But the 
main incidents are derived from the gemiine superstition of 
the Britons, as appears by several passages of the mystical 

Thus, in the piece which immediately follows the tale in 
the Welsh Archaiology, Taliesin ;gives tliis account of 

Kyntaf i'm Uuniwyd, ar lun dyn glwys^ 
Yn llys Ceridwen a'm penydiwys. 
Cyd bum bach o'm gwled, gwyl fy nghynnwys; 
Oeddwn fawr, uwch Uawr, Han a'm tywys. 
Pryd fum parwyden, per Awen parwys ; 
Ag yngkyfraith, heb iaith, a'm ryddryJlwys 
Hen Widdon dduloh, pan hdiwys : 
Anghuriawl ei hawl, ,pan hwyliwys. 

<' I was first modelled into the form of s.pure man, in 
" the hflll of Ceridwen, who subjected me to penance. 
'-' Though sm&U within my chest, and modest in my de- 
" portme^it, I was great. A sanctuary carried me ^ove the 
" surface of the earth. 


" Whilst I was inclosed within its ribs, the sweet AwEiJ 
" rendered me complete : and my law, without audible lan- 
" guage, was imparted to me by the old giantess^ darkly 
" smiling, in her wrath ; but her claim was not regretted when 
" she set sail" 

The Bard then enumerates the various forms whitji he 
had assumed, in order to elude the grasp of Ceridwen. 
These, changes do not seem to relate to the Druidical doc- 
trine of transmigration; they rather express the several 
characters, under which the aspirant wsts viewed in the sue* 
cessive stages of initiation* 

The piece concludes thu^; 

FFdes yn ronyn gwyn^ gwenith Iwys; 

Ar ael lien earthen i'm earfaglwys; ' 

Cymmaint oedd ei gweled, a chyfeb RewyS^ 

A fai yn Ileuwi, fal llong ar ddyfrwys ! 

Mewn boly tyw^yll i'm tywalltwys ; 

Mewn mor Dylan, i'm dychwelwys :: 

Bu goelfain i'm, pan i'm cain -fygwys ; 

Duw Arglwydd, yn rhydd, a'm rhyddhawys. 

" I fled in the form of a fair grain of pure wheat :■ upon 
" the edge of a covering cloth, she caught me in her 
" fangff. In appearance, she was as large as a prowd mare, 
" which she also resembled — then was she swelling out, like 
" a ship upon the waters. Into a dark receptacle she cast 
"me. She carried me back into the sea -of Dylan. It 
" was an atispkious omen to me, when she happily sufFo- 
" cated'me. God the Lord freely set me at large." 

In these remarkable lines, the Bard treats of a course of 


penance, discipline, and mystical instruction, which had con- 
tributed to purify, complete, and exalt his character, and to 
liberate him from the ills of mortality. 

These mystical lessons must have consisted in scenical or 
sj/w&oZica/ representation; for his law was imparted to him, 
without the intervention of language. 

And they commenced in the hall of Ceridwen, who is 
rfepresented as an old giantess, as a hen, as a mare, and as a 
ship, which set sail, lifted the Bard from the earth, and 
swelled out like a ship upon the waters. It was also a sacred 
ship, for it is called Llan, a sanctuary, or temple; and it 
was the Diluvian ark, for it inclosed the noviciate, and car- 
ried him baclrfnto the sea of Dylan, or Noah. Ceridwen 
was, therefore, what Mr. Bryant pronounces Ceres to have 
been, the genius of the ark; and her mystic rites repre- 
sented the memorials of the deluge. 

From the language of the Bard, it should seem that this 
goddess was represented by a series of emblems, each of 
which was regarded as her image: or else, that she was 
depicted under one compound syinbolical figure, in the 
same manner as Diima or Hecate, the lunar ark, which is 
described by the author of the Orphic Argonautics, as hav- 
ing the heads of a dog, a horse, and a Hon.* 

And that the ancient Britons actually did pourtray this 
character in the grotesque manner suggested by our Bard, 
appears by several ancient British coins, whei'e we find a 
figure, compounded of a bird, a boat, land a mare. 


• Faber'a ftlyst. of the Cabiri, V. I. p.-280. 


It may be thought a whimsical conceit in. our British 
Bard, to describe his Arkit^ goddess imder the character of 
a mare. But Taliesin is still classical. Mr. Bryant takes 
notice, that Ceres was not only styled Hippa, the mare, but 
that she was represented as having been changed into the 
form of that animal.* 

The same learned author refers to the patriarch Noah, 
the character of Dionusus,^ who was supposed to have 
been twice bom, and thence was styled Ai^wij. Sometimes 
the intermediate state is taken into account, and he is re- 
presented ^s having experienced three different lives. Here 
the authority of the Orphic hymns is quoted, in which 
this deity has the titles of Tp^un?, of three natures, and Tfiyowsj 
thrice born. Just so, we have heard Taliesin, in the poem 
before us, declare — Teirgwaith a'm ganed — Thrice was I 
bom. The last birth of Dionusus, adds Mr. Brj'ant, was 
from Hippa, the metre, certainly the ark, at which time 
nature herself was renewed.^ 

That the representations which we have in this poem of 
Taliesin, are authentically derived from the mythology of 
the heathen Britons, will not admit of a reasonable doubt. 
What Bard of the sixth century, unless he were conducted 
by such a genuine clue, could have traced the connexion 
between the character of Ceres, under the strange symbol 
of a mare, and the vessel of the Diluvian patriarch ? What 
scholar, in modem and enlightened times, could have de- 
veloped the system which our Bard supports, before the 

• Analysis, V. II. p. 27, &c. 
t tbid. p. 77 and 274. 
i Ibid, p. 410. 


genius and erudition of Mr. Bryant demonstrated, that 
Ceres or Isis was in reality a female character, supposed to 
preside over the ark, arid that the mare was a symbol of 
this goddess ? 

The same connexion between the history of the deluge, 
and the character of Ceridweri, represented as a hen, appears 
in other ancient poems, so as to authenticate the incidents 
of Hanes Taliesin. Thus the president of the Bards, having 
enumerated several of his mystical transmigrations, proceeds 
in this strain.— 

" I have been a grain of the Arhites, which vegetated 
" upon . a hiU : and then the reaper placed me in a smoky 
" recess, that I might be compelled freely to yield my corn, 
" when subjected to tribulation. I was received by the hen 
" with red fangs, and a divided crest. I remained nine 
" nights, an infant in her womb. I have been Aedd, re- 
" turning to my former state — I have died, I have re- 
" vived — Again was I instructed by the cherisher (hen), 
" with red fangs .■^ Of what she gave me, scarcely can I 
" express the great praise that is due. I am now Taliesin. 
" I will compose a just string, which shall remain to the end 
" of time, as a chief model of Elphin." * 

The reaper, mentioned in this passage, is Tegid, Gm/dd- 
naw, or Seithwedd Saidi, a character referable to Noah, 
the great husbandman, and the same at Saturn, who is fur- 
nished with a sickle, or scythe. 

The period of the aspirant's imprisonment in the womb 

s 2 

• Appendix, No. 13, 


of Ceridwen, is variously represented. Here, it is limited 
to nine nights; but elsewhere, we are told, it was nine 

Mi a fum naw mis hayach, 
Ym mol Geridwen Wrach : 
Mi a fum gynt Wion bach ; 
Taliesin ydwy bellach.* 

" I have been, for the space of nine months, in the belly 
" of Ceridwen the Fury : I was formerly Gwion the Little ; 
" henceforth I am Taliesin." 

Amongst the ancient poems relative to this mystical per- 
sonage, I must distinguish onej which is entitled Cadair 
Ceridwen ;f in which she is brought forward to speak for 
herself: or rather, her minister and representative speaks in 
her name, and touches upon some curious topics of hex 
history. The piece begins thus. % 

Rheen rym awyr ! tithau 
Cereifant o'm correddeu : 
Yn newaint, ym mhlygeineu, 
Llewychawd yn lleufereu. 
Mynawg hoedl, Minawg ap Lieu, 
A welais i yma gynneu ; 

* W. Archaiol. p. 19. 
t TliB chair of Ceridwen. 
t W. Aichiuol, p. 66. 


Diwedd yn Uechwedd Lieu : 
Bu gwrdd ei hwrdd ynghadeu. 

" Sovereign of the power of the air ! even thou puttest an 
" end to my wanderings. In the dead of night, and at the 
" dawns, have our lights been shining Decreed is the con- 
" tinuance of life to Minawc, the son of Lieu, whom I saw 
" here awhile ago, and for the last time, upon the slope of 
" the hill of Lieu : dreadfully has he been assaulted in the 
" conflicts." 

The sovereign of the power of the air seems to be the 
same character as Heilyn, the most mysterious impeller of 
the sky, mentioned va. the poem of Gwyddnaw. By this 
title, it might be thought that the Bards meant to describe 
the Supreme- Being, who put an end to the calamity of the 
deluge : but I observe, that in the poem, called the Chair 
of Teym On,* Apollo, or the solar divinity, is styled, 
Heilyn Pasgadwr — Heilyn the Feftder. 

As the ark had wandered upon the surface of the waters, 
so Ceres, the genius of the ark, is represented as having 
lighted torches, and wandered over the whole earth in search 
of her daughter, who had been carried away by the king of 
the deep. To these torches, or to those which were carried 
in the celebration of the nocturnal mysteries, and in com- 
memoration of the state of darkness, in which the patriarch 
and his family had been involved,-f we have a manifest allu- 
sion in the verses before us. 

Minawc, the son of Lieu, to whom a continuance of life 

* Appendix, No. 4. 
' + Bryant's Analysis, V. II. p. 331, 


had been decreed, and who Had taken his departure from the 
AEK, upon the slope of the hill, was clearly a representative 
of the patriarch Noah. And his British title seems to have 
had more than an accidental similarity to one which was 
conferred upon him by other heathens. 

Mr. Bryant tells us, that Meen, Menes, Menon, and the 
like, were titles by which the Deus Lunus, that is Noah, 
was distinguished in different countries : * that the votaries 
of the patriarch, who was called Meen and • Menes, were 
styled Miny<z ; which name was given them, from the ob- 
ject of their worship ; f that the Menai, in Sicily, were 
situated upon the river Menais; that they had traditions of 
a deluge, and a notion that Deucalion was saved upon 
Mount iEtna, near which was the city Noa; that there 
were of old Minya in Elis, upon the river Mint/as; and 
that the chief title of the Argonauts was that of Minya. j 

It is a remarkable coincidence, that the same patriarch 
was worshipped by the name of Minauc, in the island Mono, 
and upon the river Menai. 

It may also deserve notice, that the sentimental picture 
exhibited in this British passage, has a striking coincidence 
with the concluding ceremonies in the nocturnal m^'steries 
of the just person, and those of the Arkite Athene, men- 
tioned in the Orphic Argonautics, and thus described by 
Mr. Bryant.] 

" By A^emn aS)iwj was meant Arkite providence; in other 

* Analys. Y. II. p. 309. 
, t Ibid. p. 24S. 
i Ibid. p. 510. 

•^ words, divine wisdom, by which the world was preserved, 
*' In these mysteries, after the people had for a long time 
" bewailed the loss of a particular person, he was at -length 
" supposed to be restored to life. Upon this, the priest 
" used to address the people in these memorable Ijerms. 
" Comfort yourselves, all ye who have been partakers of the 
" mysteries , of the Deity, thus preserved: for we shall now 
" enjoy some respite from our labours." To these were added 
" the following remarkable words — I have escaped a great 
" calamity, and my lot is greatly mended " * 

Ceridwen thus proceeds. 

Afagddu, fy mab inneu, 
Dedwydd Pofydd rhwy goreu : 
Ynghyf amryson kerddeu, 
Oedd gwell ei synwyr no'r fau : 
Celfyddaf gwr a gigleu. 
Gwydion ap Don, dygnfertheu, 
A hiidwys gwraig o flodeu : 
A dyddwg moch o ddeheu 
(Can ni bu iddaw disgoreu) 
Drud ymyd, a gwryd pletheu : 
A rhithwys gorwyddawd, y ar plagawd lys, 
Ac enwerys cyfrwyeu. 

" As to Avagddu, my own son, the c^-recting god formed 
" him anew fol- happiness. In the contention of mysteries, 
" his wisdom has exceeded mine. The most accomplished 
" of beings is he. 

" Gwydion, the son of Don, by his exquisite art, charmed 

Analysis, V. II, p. 333. 


' forth a woman composed of flowers; and early did Tie 
" conduct to the right side (as he wanted a protecting 
" rampart) the bold curties, and the mrtue of the various 
" folds : and he formed a steed upon the springing plants, 
" with illustrious trappings." 

Ceridwen, having spoken of the coiiclusion of her wan- 
derings, and the continuance of life, which was decreed to 
Minauc, adverts to the Jtistory of Avagddu, utter darkness, 
or black accumulatiort,', her late unfortunate son. He was 
now hecome Dedwydd, or Eroo'orT));, and formed for happiness. 
This felicity he seems to have attained by means of the lady, 
whom Gwydion composed of flowers, adorned with the 
bold curves and various folds, and graced with a stately steed. 
This personage could have been no other than the Genius 
of the Rainbow, whom we shall presently find introduced 
by her proper name, and whose province it was to constitute 
a protecting fence. 


Gwydion, ihe son of Don, is a great agent in these mys- 
tical poems. In another piece of Taliesin's,* we find him 
counselling Hu, or Aeddon, the patriarch, to impress the 
front of his shield with an irresistible form, by means of 
which, both he and his chosen rank, triumphed over the 
demon of the waters. 

This Gwydion ab Don, was the same character as Mercury 
the son of Jove, or Hermes, the counsellor of Cronus or 
Saturn, mentioned in the fragment of Sanchoniathon. 

» Appendix, No. 10. 


Ceridwen, in the next place, touches upon her own en- 
«iowments and privileges. — 

Pan farmer y cadeiriau, 
Arbennig uddun y fau,: 
Fynghadair, a'm pair, a'm deddfon, 
A'm, araith drwyadJ, gadair gysson. 
Rym gelwir gyfrwys, yn llys Don — 
Mi, ag Euronwy ag Euron, 

" When the iherit of the presidencies shall be adjudged, 
" mine will be found the superior amongst them — my chair, 
" my cauldron, • and my laws, and my pervading eloquence^ 
" meet for the '^resid^ncy. I am accounted skilful in 
" the court of Don (Jove) and with me, Euronwy and 
« Euron." 

The cauldron of Ceridwen has - already engaged our no- 
tice. Her chair or presidency, must imply her sanctuary, 
'together with its due establishment, and all the rites and 
laws pertaining to it. She here speaks of those laws, and 
Taliesin has told us, in a passage which I have produced, 
that without audible language, she had imparted to him 
the lazes by which he was to be governed. 

It must be recollected, that Ceres and Isis were esteemed, 
and styled lawgimrs. 

The poem concludes thus — ' 

Gweleis ymladd taer, yn Nant Ffrancon, 
Duw Sul, pryd plygeint, 
Rhwng Wythaint a Gwydion. 
Pyfieu, yn geugant, ydd aethant Pon, 


I geissaw yscut, a hudolion. 
Arianrhod, drem clod, a gwawr hinon, 
Mwyaf gwarth y marth, o barth Brython, 
Dybrys am ei lys, Enfys Avon : 
Afon a'i hechrys gui-ys, gwrth terra. 
Gwenwyn ei chynbyd, cylch byd, eda. 
Nid wy dywaid geu llyfreu Breda : 
Cadair Gedwidedd yssydd yma ; 
A, hyd frawd, parawd yn Europa. 

" I saw a fierce conflict in the vale of Beaver, on the day 
" of the Sun, at the hour of dawn, between the birds of 
*' Wrath and Gwydion. On the day of Jove, they (the 
" birds of Wrath) securely went to Mona, to demand a 
" sudden sho&er of the sorcerers : but the goddess of the sil~ 
" ver wheel, of auspicious mien, the dawn of serenity, the 
" greatest restrainer of sadness, in behalf of the Britons, 
" speedily throws round his hall, the stream of the Rainbow, 
" a stream which scares away violence from the earth, and 
" causes the bane of its former state, round the circle of the 
" world to subside. The books of the Ruler of the Mount, 
" record no falshood. The Chair of the Preserver* remains 
" here; and till the doom, shall it continue in Europe." 

I would recommend the whole of this passage to the at- 
tention of the learned, as a subject of impoitartce in British 

* The original word may he a compound of Kid, the Arkite goddessi and 
Gwid, a whirl, or revolution. Thus Cynddelu says of himself, and his Bardic 
fraternity — — ' 

Gwyr a'n cydberchid uch gwtd gwenen. 

" We are men who have been mutually honoured over the vrhirl of the 
" white stream." — Alluding' to their initiation into Arkite mysteries. 

See Owen's Diet. V. Guild. 


antiquities. It fiirnishes a proof, beyond doubt or contra- 
diction, of the establishment of Arkite memorials in this 
island, and sets forth to view some singular traits of British 
tradition, upon the subject of the deluge. 

In the first place, Ceridwen, the Arh, witnesses a fierce 
conflict in the vale of the Beaver. That animal, under the 
name of Avanc, is constantly introduced into the British 
account of the deluge; and .the dra\ying of him out of the 
lake, as we have already seen, is represented as a great act, 
which was conducive to the removing of that calamity. 
Our ancestors seem to have regarded the Beaver as an em- 
tlem of the patriarch himself. To this symbolical honour, 
this creature may have been promoted, by a peculiarity in 
his natural history. The patriarch had built himself a vessel 
or house, in which he had lived in the midst of the waters ; 
and which had deposited that venerable personage and his 
faijiily, safe upon dry ground. So the Beaver is not only 
an amphibious animal, but also a distinguished architect. 
He is said to build a house of two stories, one of which is 
in the water, and the other above the water ; and out of the 
fetter, he has an egress to dry ground. The fanciful genius 
of heathenism could not have demanded or discovered a 
more happy coincidence, with the history of the Diluvian 

The conflict here mentioned, was between Gzeydion, the 
great agent in the preservation of mankind, and the 
Gwythaint, some feign J, winged creatures, which derive 
their name from Gwyth, Wrath, or Fury. These may be 
considered as the ministers of wrath, or the demons of de- 
struction, let loose at the deluge. When foiled by Gwydion 
or Hermes, they are represented as hastening to Mona, to 
procure assistance of certain sorcerers. These were, un- 


doubtedly the same, which are introduced in Taliesin's elegy, 
upon the priest of Mona,* by the names of Math and 
'Eunydd, and described, as introducing the confusion of 
nature, at the deluge. 

Math ag Eunydd, hudwydd gelfydd 
Rydd elfinor. 

" Math and Eunydd., masters of the magic wand, let 
" loose the elements." 

From these agents of desolation, the birds of wrath now 
demand a sudden shower, evidently for the purpose of pro- 
ducing a second deluge, that they might triumph over 

This new calamity was prevented by Arianrod, the god- 
dess of the silver wheel, whom Gwydion produced from a 
combination of flowers. This lady, who was the dimn of 
serenity, poured fourth the stream of the rainbow ; a stream, 
which not only scared away violence from the earth, but also 
removed the bane, or poison of the deluge, to which the 
mystical bards have frequent allusions. 


This representation is clearly derived from the history of 
Noah, and of the bow in the cloud, that sacred token of the 
covenant which God made with man, and of the promise, 
that the waters should no more become a food to destroy 
all flesh. But the incidents which this poem blends with 
the truth of sacred history, furnish a convincing proof, 

Appendix, No. 10. 


that the Bardic account was derived through the channel of 
heathenism. I 

In the conclusion, we are told, that the Chair or presi- 
dency of the Preserver, namely, Ceridwen, was established 
here, and so firmly, that it is confidently added, it should 
continue to the end of time. 

This poem was evidently intended to be sung or recited, 
in the ceremonies of a heathen solemnity, by a priest or 
priestess, who ■personated Ceridwen; but some paltry and 
mendicant minstrel, who only chaunted it as an old song, 
has tacked on three lines, in a style and measure, totally 
different !from the preceding verses. — 

An rhothwy y Drindawd 
Trugaredd Dyddbrawd — 
Cein gardawd gan wyrda ! 

" May the Trinity grant us mercy in the day of judg- 
" ment ! A liberal donation, good gentlemen !" 

Tlie old poem, called the Chair of Taliesin, furnishes a 
long list of the various apparatus, requisite for the due ce- 
lebration of the feast of Ceridwen : and particularly, enu- 
merates several of the ingredients of the mystical cauldron. 

As the curious might wish to compare this British ac- 
count, with the hints which ancient authors have thrown 
out, respecting the superstition of tlie Druids, and with 


what has been recorded of the mystical rites of other coun- 
tries ; I shall insert the whole of this obscure piece, with 
the best translation, and explanatory notes which I can 

We here find the character of the Arkite goddess identi- 
fied with that of the Moon. Of this circumstance, I have 
already taken some notice, and have shewn, from Mr. 
Bryant and Mr. Faber, that such confusion of characters 
was not peculiar to British mythology. 


Mydwyf merwerydd 
Molawd Duw Dofydd, 
Llwrw cyfranc cewydd 
Cyfi-eu dyfnwedydd. 
Bardd, bron Syvvedydd, 
Ban adleferydd 
Awen Cudd Echwydd 
Ar feinoeth feinydd. 

Beirdd Uafar Hue do, 
Eu gwawd nym gre 
Ar ystrawd ar ystre : 
Ysti-yw mawr mire. 

Ac mi wyf cerdd fud 
Gogyfarch feirdd tud : 

• W. Archaiol. p. ST. 


Rydebrwyddaf drud ; 
Kytalmaf ehud ; 
Ryddyhunaf dremud — 
Teyrn terwyu wolud. 

Nid mi wyf cerdd fas 
Gogyfarch feirdd tras 
Bath fadawl iddas — • 
Dofn eigiawn addas ! 

" I am he who annimates the fire, to the honour of the 
" god Dovijdd, in behalf of the assembly of associates, qua- 
" lified to treat of mysteries — a Bard, with the knowledge 
" of a Sywedydd, when he deliberately recites the inspired 
" song of the Western Cudd, on a serene night amongst 
** the stones. 

*' As to loc[uacious, glittering bards, their encomium 
" attracts me not, when moving in the course : admiration 
*' is their great object. 

" And I am a silent proficient, who address the Bards 
" of the land : it is mine to animate the hero ; to persuade 
" the unadvised ; to awaken the silent beholder — the bold 
*' illuminator of kings ! ' 

" I am no shallow artist, greeting the Bards of a house- 
" hold, hke a subtle parasite the, ockan has a due 

These lines are merely prefatory. As the Bard lived in 
an age when Druidism was upon the decline, he found it 
expedient to assert the importance of his own pontifical 

character as distinguished from the mere poet, and even 
from the Bard of the household, who was an officer of no 
mean rank, in the British court, as we learn from the laws 
of Howel. It was his privilege to be entertained at the 
king's table, to be endowed with free land, to have hisr 
wardrobe furnished, and his steed provided at the king's ex- 
pence; yet, he was to give place to the Cathedral Bard, 
or priest, of the ancient national order. 

Though I must leave several things in this poem unex- 
plained, it may seem proper to take notice of other particu- 
lars, and throw what light I can upon them. 

Merwerydd, in the first line, comes immMarwor, embers^ 
or hot coals. It seems to have denoted a person who had 
the charge of keeping up a fire. The term at present, im- 
plies that kind of madness or enthusiasm, which we suppose 
to have possessed the heathen prophets. Dovydd (line 2) 
is literally, the Tamer, Domitor. Cewydd, in the next hne^ 
an associate, from Caw, a bandor circumscription. Hence 
Prydain, Dyvnwal, and Bran are styled Ban-Cewyddion 
Teyrnedd, consolidating sovereigns* Sywedydd (line 5) a 
mystagogue, or revealer of mysteries. Ys-yw-wedydd, a de- 
clarer of what is. We find Syw, pi. Sywed, and Sywion, in 
the same sense. Cudd, (line 7) the dark repository — the 

To proceed with our Bard — 

Pwy amlenwis c^s 
Camp ymhob noethas 
Pan yw Dien gwhth 
A Had gwenith 

* W. Archaiol. V. II. p. 63. 

3 * ^ ! 


A gwlid gwenyn 
A glud ac ystor 
Ac flyvf- tramor ^ 

Ac^urbibeu Lieu 
A lion aiiant gwiw 
A rhudd em a grawa 
Ag ewyn eigiawn 
Py ddyfrys fFynna^vn , 
Beiwr byr yr ddawn 
Py gysswUt-gwerin "^ ; ,- . ' 
, Brecci bon^dd'llya • 

A Uwyth Lloer wehyn 
!)'^;'^,/, Lleddf Honed Verbyn. 

*' The man of! coiiiplete ,^scipiirie has obtained the meed 
" of honour, in every nightly- celebration, when D'ien is pro- 
" pitiated with an offering of wheat, and the suavity of bees* 
" and incense and myrrh, and aloes, from heyond the seas, 
" and the gold pipes of Lieu, and cheerful, precious, silver, 
" and the ruddy gem, and the berries, and the foam of 
" the ocean, and cresses of a purifying quality, laved in the 
** fountain, and ^ joint contribution of wort, the founder of 
" liquor, supplied by the assembly, and a^aised load se* 
" eluded from the moon, of placid, cheerful Vervain." 

This passage, without an atom of poetical merit, and 
consisting of a mere list of trifles, derives some importance, 
from the high consideration which those trifles once ob- 
tained in our native country. Upon this score, I would 
ground my apology for lengthening the paragraph, withi 
some attempts at elucidation. 

'Noe^Aas, (line 24) a mighty solemnity ; from the old term 



}foeih, the night: whence we have He-noeth, this night i 
Mei-noeth, a serene night, or May-etel Peu-noeth, every 
night, and Tra-noeth, the morrow, or beyond the night: 
Noethas also implies an unveiling, or uncovering ; and the 
priest of Ceridwen, or the moon, may have selected this 
term, .either because the night disclosed the object of his 
veneration, or because heR mysteries w^re unveiled only in 
the night. 

In my translation of the 25th line, 1 have rendered 
Gwlith, as a verb, to attract, to persuade gently, to propi- 
Hate. It had such a meaning formerly ; hence we read in 
tlie Gododin, Qwlith Eryr, the eagles allurer.* Gwlith, in 
the modern Welsh, only means dew ; and the line might be 
rendered tehen the Divine dew descends; but the context 
seems to require the meaning which I have given to it, and 
in rendering particular passages in poems, which relate to 
the Druidical superstition, and which have been obscure 
for a thousand years, it is necessary to keep in view the ge- 
neral subject, and to compare part with part. 

Llad, (line 26) a benefit, gift or offering: in thfe printed 
copy, the orthography is improperly modernized into Lladd, 
to cut, reap, or mow. The Bridllu, or pnmwses, mentioned 
in a subsequent line, were not to be procured at the season 
of cuttins wheatw 


Gwlid or Gwlyddy (line 27) I am n6t certain whether he 
means honey, or the plant Samolus, which was called 
Gwlydd; but I rather ' think, the latter is here intended. 
Dr. Borlase remarks, that " the Druids experienced great 

* Song 11. S«e tlic enstting Section. 


** virtue in, or at least, ascribed it to the Samolus, and 

** gathered it in a ritual, religious manner. He that was to 

" perforin this office of gathering it, was to do it fasting, 

" with his left hand," &c.* 

Aarhibeu, (line 30) the mineral, Orpiment, is so called ; 
but I rather think the gold pipes was some plant with a 
yellow flower, and hollow stem. So Ariant, in the next 
line, may imply the Fluxwort, which is called Ariant Gwion^ 
Gwion's silver, a certain proof that the Druids held it in 
esteem 5 for Gmon was the superintendant of the mystical 

Em, (line 30) probably the red gem, or bud of some tree— 
Grawn, (ib.) the wild Nep, or nahite vine, is called Gravny 
Pertfa, hedge berries, and also Eirin Gwion, the Borues of 
Gwion — see the last note, 

Berwr, (line 35) Cresses. The Fabaria is called Berwr 
ihliesiA, Taliesin*s cresses, and is therefore, the plant here 

Verhyn, ^lin^ 39) Vervain. In the British Botanology, 
ihis plant has also the following appropriated titles, ex- 
jiressive of its high esteem amongst our ancestors — Cds gan 
dythraul, the Fiend's atersion; Y Dderwen Vendigaid, the 
hlessedoak; and Llysiau'r Hudol, the Inchanter's plants. 

The Druids, we are told, were excessively fond of the 
Vervain ; they used it in casting lots and foretelling events. 

T 2 

• Antq.sf Cornwall, B, II. C. X9.— From Pliti^. 


Anointing with this, they thought the readiest way, to ob- 
tain all that the heart gould desire, to keep off fevers, to 
procure friendships, and the like. It was to he gathered 
at the rise of the dog star, without being looked upon, either 
hy the sun or moon. In order to which, the earth was to 
be propitiated by a libation of honey. In digging it up, 
the left hand was to be used. It was then to be waved 
aloft, and the leaves, stalk, and roots, were to be dried se- 
parately in the shade. ' 

The couches at feasts, were sprinkled with water, in 
which this plant had been infused.* 

Most of the ingredients enumerated in this passage, 
*eem to have been used in the preparation of the mystical 
cauldron ; and they may be regarded as the simples, which 
Ceridwen was fabled to have selected, with so much care and 
ceremony. — But let us go on with the catalogue. 

A Sywion synhwyr 
A sewyd am Loer 
A gofrwy gwedd gwyr 
Gwrth awel awyr 
A mall a merin 
A gwadawl tra merin 
^ A chwrwg gwydrin 
Ar Haw pererin 
A phybyr a phyg 
Ag urddawl Segyrffyg 
A llyseu meddyg 
Lie allwyr Venffyg. 

• Antiq. of Cornwall, B. U. C. lS,-^p»nj PliRy, L. XXV. C. 9. 


*' With priests of intelligence, to officiate in tehalf of 
" the moon, and the concourse of associated men, under 
'^ the open breeze of the sky, with the maceration and 
" sprinkling, and the portion after the sprinkling, and the 
" boat of glass in the hand of the stranger, and the stout 
" youth with pitch, and the honoured Segyrffyg, and me- 
'* dical plants, from an exorcised spot." 

The boat of glass .(line 46) was a token of the same im- 
port as the Anguinum, or Glain, as I have already remarked. 
In the second volume of Mountfaucon's Antiquities,* there 
is a sculpture which illustrates this passage. It is a bass- 
relief, found at Autun, and represents the chief Druid, 
bearing his sceptre, as head of his order, and crowned 
with a garland of oak leaves ; with another Druid, not thus 
decorated, approaching him, and displaying in his right 
hand a crescent, of the size of the moon, when six days 

The pitch (line 48) was, I suppose, for the facnla or 
torches, which were carried during the celebration of the 
nocturnal mysteries. 

Segt/rffug means protecting from illusion. I imagine it 
was the name of some plant. The populace of Wales as- 
cribe the virtue implied by this name, to a species of 

The literal translation of the fiftieth line, is a place 
cleared from the illusion of the witch.. The practice of exi 

' Opposite to p. its. 


6rcising the ground was common to the Druids, with other 
ancient priests. The iron instrument used in this rite of 
exorcising, was to describe a circle round the plant, and 
then dig it up.* 

The piece concludes thus — : 

A Beirdd a blodeu 
A guddig bertheu 
A briallu a briwddail 
A blaen gwydd goddeu 
A mall ameuedd 
A mynych adneuedd 
A gwin tal cibedd 
O Ryfain hyd Ilossedd 
A dvvfn ddwfr echwydd 
Pawn ei lif Dofydd 
Neu pren puraur fydd 
Ffrwythlawn ei gynnydd 
Rei ias berwidydd 
Oedd uch pair pumwydd 
A Gwion afon 
A gofwy hinon 
A mel a meillion 
A meddgyrn meddwon 
Addwyp i Pdragon 
I)da)vn y Derwyddon^ 

" And Bards with flowers, and perfect convolutions, and 
" primroses, and leaves of the Briw, with the points of 
" the trees of purposes, and solution of doubts, and fre- 

f Antiq. of Cornwall, B. 11. C. IJ-^Fioia ?Jbj. 


,r* quent mutual pledges ; and with wine which flows to the 
** brim, from Rome to Rosedd, and deep standing water, 
." a flood which has the gift of Hovydd, or the tree oi pure 
'* gold,, which becomes of a fructifying quality, when that 
** BVewei' gives it a boiling, who presided over the cauldron 
of the five plants. 


" Hence the stream of Gwion, and the reign of serenity, 

and honey and trefoil, and horns flowing with mead 

Meet for a sovei'eign is the lore of the Druid^," 

We have now seen the end of this curious poem, if it de- 
serves the. name ; but a few more remarks may be proper — 
Primroses ranked highly amongst the mystical apparatus, if 
we may judge from their name, which is a compound of 
Bri,' dignity, and Gallu, power. 

The leaves of the Briw, which we find introduced with 
the symbolical sprigs, or lots, are probably those of the 
Vervain, which is known by the name of Briw'r March. Pliiiy 
has told us, that the Druids used this plant in casting lotSy 
and foretelling events^ 

•* ' 

The same rite of /iifl^iore is described, as prevailing from 
Rome to Rosedd. This seems to fix the date of the com- 
position, long before the sixth century — in an age when 
the Britons were acquainted with the Romans, but whilst 
Rome itself, as yet was Pagan. It may also be remarked, that 
here is not a single Christian idea introduced ; on the con- 
trary, we find an open profession of worshipping the moon. 


ia a general concourse of men, and the lore of the Druids it 
declared to be meet for sovereign princes. Hence I think 
it probable, that no part of this poem, excepting the intro- 
duction, belongs to the Taliesin of the sixth century. 

The deep water seems to imply the bath, for immersion ; 
and the gift of Dovydd, was the Selago, or hedge hyssop, 
which has a synonymous appellative, in modern Welsh, 
being called Grds Duw, Gratia Dei. 

" With great care and superstition did the Druids gather 
" the Selago. Nothing of iron was to touch, or cut it, 
" nor was the bare hand thought worthy of that honour, 
" but a peculiar vesture, or sagus, applied by means of the 
" right hand ; the vesture must have been holy, and taken 
" off from some sacred person privately, and with the left 
" hand only. The gatherer was to be clothed in white, 
" namely, a Druid, whose garment was white, his feet 
" nakedi and washed in pure water. He was first to offer 
" a sacrifice of bread and wine, before he proceeded to 
" gather the Selago, which was carriedffrom the place of its 
" nativity, in a clean new napkin. This was preserved by 
" the Druids, as a charm against all misfortunes."* 

Pren Puratir, (line 62) the free of pure gold — the misseltoe 
— Virgil's Aurum frond^ns, and Ramus aureus, which the 
Arch-Druid gathered with a golden hook. Amongst the 
extraordinary reputed virtues of this plant, was that men- 
tioned by our Bard, oi promoting the increase of the species, 
or preventing sterility .f The names of the misseltoe, in 

• Antiq. of Cornwall, B. II. C. 12.— From Pliny. 
+ Ibid. 


the Welsh language, preserve the memorial of its ancient 
dignity. It is called Prera Amyr, the .Ethmal tree ; Pren 
Uchelvar, the tree of the high summit ; and has four other 
names, derived from Uchel, lofty. 

We find, by the conclusion of the poem, that this, and 
the other select plants, were amongst the ingredients of the 
mystical cauldron, which had been contrived by Ceridwen, 
the British Ceres. This produced the stream of Grdon, to 
which were ascribed, not only gemw*, and the power of in- 
spiration, but also the reign of serenity, which, as we have 
been told, in the cJiair of Ceridwen, immediately com- 
menced upon the display of the celestial bow, at the con- 
clusion of the deluge. 

This cauldron, in short, purified the votaries of Druidism, 
for the celebration of certain mystical rites, which comme- 
morated the preservation of mankind in the ark, and the 
great renovation of nature. 

That a people so strongly attached to their national cus- 
toms, as the ancient Britons are knq|(ni to have been, should 
have pertinaciously adhered to the religion of their ances- 
tors ; that the British Ceres should have maintained her 
honours in the obscure corners of the country, as late as 
the sixth century; and that her votaries should have ap- 
peared in public during that age, or in the interval, between 
the dominion of the Romans and that of the Saxons, is not 
greatly to be wondered at. There seems to have been se- 
veral parts of Wales ii^to which Christianity, as yet, had 


Scarcely penetrated; or where, at least, it had not pre- 
ttailed. Hence Brychan is commended: " for bringing up 
'.'. his children and grand-children in learning) so as to be 
" able to shew the faith in Christ, to; the Cymry, where 
" they were without thefaith,"^ 

But that the Welsh princes, to the latest period of their 
government, should not only tolerate, but patronize the old 
superstition; and that the mysteries of Ceres'should be ce- 
'lebrated in South Britain, as late, as the middle of the 
twelfth century, a?,e facts, as singular as they are india- 
putabl(5. ' ' 

Many of the most ofFensive ceremonies must, of course, 
have been either retrenched or concealed ; but there is au- 
thentic proof, that the honours and the mysteries of Cerid- 
wen did remain. Some of the paragraphs which authen- 
ticate this fact, I have produced in the first section of this 
essay, to which I refer the reader. 

Before I look for additional evidence, I shall oiler a few 
hints, with a view of accounting for the fact itsqlf. 

The commemorations of the deluge were so pointed ^nd 
clear, in the mystical rites of the Britons, that wli^n the 
Bards became acquainted with scripture history, they per- 
^eivedj and frequently Eluded to, the connection between 
their own national traditions, and the sacred records, re- 
specting ISloah and hi? family. Hence they considered their 
ow?i as a genuine desji^endant of the patriaa; religion. 

• y wall's Csin. Siog^V. Brjchan.— rroqj thtfTtiaCls^ 


and therefore, as not absolutely iriQconcileable with 

The Roman laws and edicts, had for some ages, restrained 
the more cruel customs, and the bloody sacrifices of the 
Druids : what now remained was their code of mystical doc- 
trines, together with their symbolical rites. 

The Bards were influenced by their profession, and the 
princes, who from their infancy, had been accustomed to 
hear and admire the songs of the Bards, were induced, by 
national prejudice, to regard these as innocent, at least, if 
not meritorious : and to fancy, that they might be good 
Christians enough, without wholly rehnquishing their hea- 
thenish superstitions, 

The ministers of Christianity thought otherwise, and 
sometimes refused Christian burial to these Gentile priests : 
and there are many instances of the Bards themselves, 
promising a kind of recantation, sometime before their 

Conscience being soothed by these palliatives, gave way 
to a cogent argument, in favour of the Bardic institution, 
which was supposed to give a strong support to personal 
fortitude ; and to animate the spirit of national indepen- 
dence, during times, the most difficult and disastrous. 

Such appears to have been the feehng of Hywel, the son 
of Owen Gwynedd, who succeeded his father, in the princi- 
pality of North Wales, and died in the year 1171. 

We may infer from the following poem, that this prince 
had been initiated into the lesser mysteries of Ceridwen,'and 


that he eagerly longed for admittance to the greater, namely, 
thosp of the covered coracle, which were conducted by 
Gwyddnaw and his son : for I shall shew hereafter, that, by 
the Steed, in the mystical lore of the , Bards, is meant a 
boat, or vessel upon the water; and here we find the mean- 
ing ascertained by other circumstances. 

Song by Hyweli, the son of Owen.* 

" I love in the summer season, the prancing steed of the 
" placid smiling chief, in the presence of the gallant lord, 
" who rules the foam-covered, nimbly-moving wave. But 
" another has worn the token of the apple spray :f my 
*' shield remains white upon my shoulder; the wished for 
" atchievement have I not obtained, though great was my 
" desire. 

" Ceridwen, lofty and fair — slow and delicate in her de- 
" scending course — her complexion is formed of the mild 
" light, in the evening hour J-- the splendid, graceful, 
" bright, and gentle lady of the mystic, song — even in 
" bending a rush would she totter — so small, so delicate, so 
" feebly descending ! 

* W. Archaiol. p. 278. 

+ That is, " another iias been the successful candidate — he carries the cm- 
" blem of -viclory ; whilst my shield retains a hlmk surface, not blazoned 
" with the desired atchievement." 

Hywel lived in an age of Chivalry ; hence the metaphors in this passage. 

% The new moon, with her mall and j/oXlid crescent, \ras the symbol of this 


*' But though small, she is older than the youth of ten 
" years. She is the modeller of our tender age, full ofmeek- 
" ness ; her juvenile discipline has she freely bestowed. Yet, as 
" a heroine, she would rather impede her own prosperity, 
" than utter one sentence of unseemly import. 

" Attend thou my worship^ in the mystical grove: and 
*' whilst I adore thee, maintain thy ownjurisdictibn .'" 

If we may judge from Hywel's description, Ceridwen had 
greatly improved in her person and her manners, since the 
sixth century ; hut still, she is the same object of idolatrous 
veneration : she stUl communicates her mystical laws to the 
devoted aspirant. 

Upon a subsequent application, our princely Bard seems 
to have been more, successful; for thus he sings of Llywy, 
who, as we have already seen, was the daughter of Ceridwen, 
and was now become the mystical sister of Hywel. 

" I love the Caer of the illustrious lady, near the pleasant 
" shore : and to the place where the modest fair one loves 
" to behold the sea mew; to the place where I am greatly 
" beloved, I would gladly go. 

" I will vow a visit to the serenely fair — that I may be- 
" hold my sister gently smiling — that nI may avow the love 
" which fate has allotted me, in the home of her, who tran- 
" quiUizes my breast with her itiild influence ; in the home 

^' of Llywy, whose hue is like Dylan's wave. 

t ' 

<< From her dominion, an overflowing deluge has extended 


" td us. Pair is she, as the snow, whigh the cold has po-» 
" lished upon the-lofty peak. 

" For the severe discipline which I experienced in the hall of 
" the mysterious god, I have obtained her promise — a treasure 
*' of high privilege^ 

" She lias stolen my soul — I am become weak — my spirit 
" is like that of Garwy Hir — I am detained for the fair one^ 
" in the hall of the mysterious god !" 

And again — ■ 

" I shall Jong for the proud-wrought Caer of the Gy^ 
*' ti/lchi, till my exulting person has gained admittance^ 
" Renowned and enterprizing is the man who enters theret 

*' It is the chosen place tf Uywy, zvith her splendid en^ 
" dowments. Bright gleaining, she ascends from the margin of 
" the sea : and the lady shines this present year, in the desart 
" ofARvoN, in Eryri, 

*' A pavilion will not be regarded, nor costly robes ad- 
" mired, lay her whose merit I fondly wish to delineate : 
" but if she would bestow the privilege for any strain of 
" Bardism, I would enjoy this night in her society." 

If we may judge from these strains of* Hy\vel, and from 
many similar passages in the works of his contemporaries,- 
the Cambrian Bards were as zealously devoted to the worship 
of Ceridwen and Llywy, or Ceres and Proserpine, in the 
twelfth century, as they had been in the sixth, or in any 
earliei' age of heathen superstition. 

We have alredy seen some hints of a solemn oath, that 
was administered to the aspirants, hefore they were ad- 
mitted to the mystical rites of these characters : accordingly, 
the Welsh Archaiology supplies us with an old formulary of 
introduction in very obscure language, and uncouth ortho- 
graphy, which seems to have been used upon these occasions; 

Arthur and Cai are :fepresented, as approaching the gate 
of the sanctuary, which was guarded by the hierophant^ 
and commencing the following dialogue — 


" What man is he that guards the gate ?" 


" The severe hoary one, with the wide dominion— —Who 
" is the man that demands it/' - 


*' Arthur and the blessed Cai." 


" What good attends thee, thou blessed one, thou best 

■" man in the world ! Into my house thou canst not enter,; 

" unless thou wilt preserve " . 


" 1 will preserve U, and that thou shalt behold ; thouglji 
" the birds of wrath should go forth, and the three atteridant 
" ministers should fall asleep, namely, the son of the Creator, 
'f Mabon the son of Mydron, attendant upon the wonders 


" ful supreme Ruler, and Gwyn, the Lord of those who' de- 
" scendfrom above" 


" Severe have my servants been, in preserving their ifl- 
" stitutes. Manciwydan, the son of Llyr, was grave in his 
" counsel. , Manawyd truly brought a perforated shield, 
" from Trevryd ; and Mabon, the son of Lightning, stained 
" the straw with clotted gore : and Anwas, the winged, and 
" Llwch Llawinawg, (the ruler of the lake) were firm guar- 
" dians of the incircled mount — Their Lord preserved them, 
" and I rendered them complete, 

" Cai ! I solemnly announce — though all three should be 
" slain ; when the privilege of the grove is violated, danger 
" shall be found !" 

The remainder of this obscure piece, describes the dif- 
ferent characters which were supported by Arthur and Cai, 
after their initiation, and the different fates which attended 
them. The passage before us may be understood, as in- 
volving a very solemn oath. The Aspirant engages, in the 
presence of the^ Hierophant, who personates his god, to 
preserve the laws of the sanctuary, however he may be as- 
saulted by enemies, or deserted by his friends ; whilst the 
chief priest denounces in awful obscurity, the inevitable ruin 
which will attend the violation of this sacred engage- 

Jlere we also find, that during the performance of the 
mystical rites, the Hierophant was attended by three priests. 


each of whom personated a god. This is in perfect con- 
fonnity with the usage of the Greeks. For, we are told, 
that in the celebration of the Eleusinian mysteries, four 
priests officiated. The Hierophant, who represented the 
Great Creator : the torch-bearer, who personated the sun ; 
the Herald, who was regarded as a type of Mercurif, and 
the minister of the altar, who was venerated as the symbol 
of the moon. 

Having now taken a considerable range in the grounds 
of British superstition, I shall dismiss the present siibject, 
with the persuasion, that the facts which I have brought 
forward in this, and the preceding section, will furnish a 
master-key to the stores of British mythology. 

It has been proved, that the great secret of the ancient 
, Bards, who professed themselves disciples of the Druids, 
and consequently of the Druids themselves, resolves itself 
into "the mystical rites of Hu and Ceridwen; that these cha- 
racters were no other than the Bacchus and Ceres of an- 
tiquity, whose mysteries are acknowledged to have been 
dull/ celebrated in the British islands ; and that the ceremonies 
and traditions of the Britons, had evident analogy with the 
superstitions of the Greeks, and of some of the Eastern 

It has also been seen, that the British mysteries comme- 
morate the deluge, and those characters which are con- 
nected with its history ; and thus furnish an undeniable con- 
firmation of Mr. Bryant's opinion, that Ceres was an ima- 
ginary genius of the Ark, from whence the post-diluvian 
■jyorld derived thejr being, their laws, and their sciences ; 



whilsjt on the other liand, that opinion suppKcs a lucid 
solution of the great Bardic aenigma, that every thing sa- 
cred, pure, and prifn-itive, was derived from the cauldron of 

In British trntiquities, the slibject is new, and upon that 
account alone, may be deemed curious by mapy readers ; 
but I regard it in a more important light, as in connexion 
with the discoveries of Mr. Bryant and Mr. Faber, af-- 
ford^ihg a demonstration to the candid philosopher, that 
heathenism had no foundation of its own to rest upon, and 
that its tottering fabric merely leaned against the great 
historical truths, which are recorded va, the sacred volume* 



The Dedgn of the circuiciV Temples and Cromlechs of the 
Druids. — Original Documents relative' to the celebrated 
Structure of Stonkhenge. 

1' " 

-1- HE superstition of the Britons, as we find it delineated 

in the ancient Bards, and prohably, as it existed for many 
centuries, before the time of any of those Bards which are 
now extant, appears to have been a heterogeneous system, 
iri which the memorials of the patriarch, and of the deluge, 
and some of the true principles of the patriarchal religion, 
were blended with a mass of absurdity, and an idolatrous 
worship of the hosfof heaven. 

Thus, whilst Ceridwen is the genius of the Ark, we ob- 
serve, that at the same time, the moon is her representative 
in the heavens. Her husband, Tegid ox Saidi, commemo- 
rates Noah; but he is also viewed in the planet Saturn; and 
by the name of Hu, he even takes' possession of the solar 
orb. Avagddu, the hlack accumulation, which appalled the 
world at the deluge, has brightened into JRhuvawn Bevyr, 
or the splendor of the regenerated sun. 

. Hence we must expect ta findi that the temples which 
were sacred to this inotley superstition, had some reference 
to the celestial, as well as to the tetrestrial objects of adb- 

V 3 



It has been already remarked, that Cadeiriath Saidi, ot 
the language of the chair of Saidi, was personified ; and that 
he constituted an important character in British mythology. 

But such an ideal personage as this, could have been 
nothing more than a representative of the sacred ceremonies, 
doctrine, laws, and institutes of Druidism : as exhibited and 
taught, in the temple or sanctuary of Ceridwen, bM. of 
the other mythological group. 

This temple was named Caer Sidi, the circle, or sanctuary 
of'Sidi; and Taliesin's presidency, as high priest in that 
temple, was styled Cadair Caer Sidi, the chair of Caer Sidi. 
The doctrine and the law which he pronounced from that 
chair, were therefore, the Cadeiriaith, or language of thi 
chair. Let us now inquire, why the name of Caer Sidi was 
appropriated to the Druidical temples. 

I might cut this matter short, by asserting upon the- 
authority of Mr Bryant, that Sidi, or Xih, was one of the 
names of Ceres. 

" As the Ark, says that great mythologist, was looked' 
" upon as the mother of mankind, and stiled Da-Mater, 
'\ so it was figured under the resemblance of the "Poia, Po- 
" megranate, since abounding with seeds, it was thought 
" no improper emblem of the Ark, which contained the 
" nadiments of the future world. Hence the deity of the 
" Ark was named Rhoia, and was the Rhea of the Greeks." 
" — Another name of the pomegfanate was Sid^ (p^v, Sidee) 
" of which name there was a city in Pamphylia, and 
" another in Boeotia, which was said to have been built 
'* by Sjdb, the daughter of Danaus, which may be in a 


♦* great measure true : for by a daughter ofDanaus, is meant 
" a priestess of Da-Naus, the Ark, the same as Da-Mater."* 

According to this deduction, Sidee must have been as 
legitimate a name as Rhea, for the genius of the Ark ; andi 
it must have represented that sacred vessel, as hitherto im- 
pregnated with its seeds ; or, as containing the patriarch and 
his family, who became objects of superstitious veneration, 
to succeeding ages. 

But the British Caer Sidi \f&% derived through another 
channel. It appears from the spoils of the deep, one of the 
principal of the mystical poems of Taliesin,-)" that the ori- 
ginal Caer Sidi, and the prototype of that sanctuary, in 
which our Bard presided, was no other than the sacred 
vessel, in which the my thological ^rf Awr and Ms seven friends 
escaped the general deluge. Thus the Britons regarded Caer 
Sidi as a name of the Ark. 

But as the Britons, like many other heathens, had blended 
their commemorations of the patriarch and his family, with 
the worship of the host of heaven ; as the sun, moon, and 
planetSj were now viewed as emblems of their consecrated 
p):€rgenitors,-and of their sacred ship, and probably had en- 
grossed the greatest part of popular veneration ; so we find 
that the name of Caer Sidi, or S;idin, was transferred from 
the sacred ship, to that great circle, in which those lumi- 
nous emblems of their gods^ presided and expatiated. In 
British astronomy, it was become the name of the Zodiac. 

* Analys. V. II. p. 330. 
t Appendix, Np. 3. 


Agreeably to the idiom of thcx Welsh language, the •words 
Caer, Sidi, or Sidin, imply the circle, or inclosed place of 
the revolution. We may, therefore, admire the dexterity 
t^ith which the genius of mythology appropriated the title,, 
first, to the vessel in which all the surviving inhabitants oftht 
world performed the greatest revolution recorded in history ; 
secondly, to that celestial circle, in which the luminaries of 
the world perpetually revolve; and lastly, to the Druidical 
temples, which appear from the works of the Bards, to have 
had a marked reference, both to the sacred s/w]p, fl.nd to the 

Their reference to the former may be proved, not only 
from the spoils of the deep, but also from Taliesin's poera 
upon the sons of Llyr,* where he tells us, that his chair, or 
presidency, was sacred to Ceridwen. 

Neud amiig ynghadeir o beir Ceridwen ! 
Handid rydd fy nhafawd, 
Yn addawd gwawd Ogyrwen. 

" Is not my chair protected by the cauldron of Cerid- 
" wen? Therefore, let my tongue be free, in the sanc- 
" tudry of the praise of the goddess'' 

And again, in the same poem, he names and describes 
this presidency — 

Ys cytyipir fy nghadeir, ynghaef Sidi 
lN[is plawdd haint a henaint a fo yndi 
Ys gwyr Manawyd a Phryderi 
Tair Orian y am dan a gan rhegddi 

AppendiX) No. 1. 


Acam ei bannau fFrydieti gweilgi 
A'rffynawn ffrwythlavvn yssydd odducliti 
Ys whegach nor' gwin gwyn y Uyii yndi* 

" Complete is my chair in Caer Sidi : neither disorde* 
" nor age will oppress him that is within it. It is known 
" to Manawyd afid Pryderi, that three loud strains round 
" the fire, will be sung before it ; whilst the currents of thi 
" sea are round its borders, and the copious fountain is open 
" foom above, the liquor within it is sweeter than delicious 
" win&" 

It is clear, from these remarkable passages, that the name 
of Caer Sidi was given to the sanctuary, in which the rites 
of Ceridwen were celebrated : for the presideiicy which 
Was protected by the cauldron of Ceridwen, and the presi* 
dency of Caer Sidi, imply one and the same thing. And 
the sanctuary of that presidency is described with circum- 
stances, which can be referred only to the history of a ship, 
and which evidently allude to the Ark* 

The currents of the deep compass it about, and the copious 
fountain is open foom above; still there is safety^ tranquil-' 
lity, and comfortable subsistence within. All this is the 
literal history of the Ark, and there can be httle doubt^ but 
that it is also the history of some rites, which the Britons 
observed in commemoration of it* 

That the same sanctuary had its allusion to the gfeat circle 
of th6 Zodiac, may be inferred from the language of the? 
same Taliesin, who vaunting of the high importance of his 
pontifical office, assimilates his own character with that of 
Apollo, or the sun. 

Having informed us, in the poem whjch is called his his^ 


tory, that he had received the Aniens or impiration, from 
the cauldron of Ceridwen, he concludes in this manner. 

Mi a fum ynghadair flin 
Uwch Caer Sidin 
A lionno yn troi fydd 
Rhwng tri elfydd 
Pand rhyfedd ir byd 
Nas argennyd:* 

" I have presided in a toilsome chair, over the circle of 
" Sidin, whilst that is continually revolving between three 
" elements ; is it not a wonder to the world, that men are 
" not enlighiened?" 

Here the Bard, as usual, blends the description of celes' 
tial objects with that of their representatives on earth. The 
Caer Sidin, which continually revolves in the midst of the 
universe, is the circle of the zodiac. Here the sun, the 
great luminary of the world, is the visible president. Our 
Bard could not pretend to have presided in this Caer Sidin; 
but as his own assumed name, Taliesin, radiant front, was 
a mere title of the sun, so, as chief Druid of his age, he . 
was the priest and representative of the great Inminary upon 
earth ; and his vicegerent in that sanctuary, which typified 
the abode of the gods. 

In the subject of British antiquities, it might be deemed 
of some importance to ascertain the form of those Caer 
Sidis, or sanctuaries, in which our ancestors celebrated the 
rites of their Certdztien or Ceres, and performed other acts 
of worship — to determine whether those sanctuaries con- 

.2 ,,___ ^. 

" W. Archsiol. p. SO. 


sisted merely of caves, glades in the sacred groves, islets in 
the lakes or margin of the sea, and the like; or whether 
they are to be recognised in those round trenches and circles 
of stones, which still remain in various parts of these islands, 
and have been deemed Druidical temples. I shall therefore 
offer such hints upon the subject as occur to me, and leave 
them to the consideration of mythologists and antiquaries. 

As the Britons distinguished the zodiac and the temples, 
or sanctuaries of their gods, by the same name of Caer 
Sidi, and as their great Bard, Taliesin, blends the lieavenly 
and the terrestrial Sidi in one description, we may presume, 
that they regarded the latter as a type or representation of 
the ybrwer. 

The two great objects of their superstitious regard, as w& 
have already seen, were the patriarch and the ark ; but un- 
der the names of Hu and Ceridwen, these were figured or 
represented by the two great luminaries, which revolve in 
the celestial zone. And this conceit was analogous to the 
mythology of other nations. For Liber Pater was the same 
as Dionusus, who, according to Mr. Bryant, was the pa- 
triarch Noah ; and Ceres was the genius of the ark : yet we 
.find that Virgil, the most learned of the poets, unites their 
characters with those of the sun and moon. 

* Vos, O clarissima mundi 

Lumina, labantem calo qui ducitis annum 
Liber, et alma Ceres! 

Were a representation " of this idea of the poet, to be 

• O Liber, and holy Ceres, ye bright lummari«s gf ihc world, who lead 
forth the year, revoking in the heavens! 


made In sculpture, we should see the two gfeat mythological 
characters moving in their proper orbits, amongst the signs 
of the zodiac, which mark the diflFerent seasons of the re- 
volving yearj and which the Egyptians style tite grand as- 
semhh/, or senate of the twelve gods,* 

In Mons. de Gebelin's Monde Primitif,f I observe a 
curious antique design, taken from the zone of a statue, 
supposed to he that of Venus, which is highly illustrative 
of this subject. Here, the story of Ceres and Proserpine 
is beautifully told. The former goddess is mounted upon a 
car, formed like a boator ha^ moon, and drawn by dragons; 
holding lighted torches in her hands, she flies in search of her 
daughter, who is violently carried away in Pluto's chariot, 
Hercules, or the sun, leads the procession, and the group 
is hastening into the presence of Jupiter, who appears en- 
throned on a cloud. The whole is surrounded with twelve 
oblong tablets, or short pillars, upon which are depicted 
the twelve signs of the zodiac, in an erect posture; inti- 
mating evidently, that the mythology of those personages 
was connected with an exact observation of the stars, and 
of the return of the seasons. And, agreeably to this hint,^ 
we find that the mystical Bards, and tales of the Britons, 
constantly allude to the completion of the i/ear, and the re- 
turn of a particular day, when they treat of the history and 
the rites of Ceridwen. 

Were a pantheon, or temple of the dissembled gods, to be 
designed after the model of this sculpture, we should have 
the principal figures stationed in the central area, and the 
pillars of the constellations ranged about them in a circle. 

' ' I ■ — 

• Bryant's Analysis, V. II. p. 483. 

+ Tom, IV. PI. 7, Fig. 1. 


And were' this to be undei-taken, by a people who abhorfed^i. 
vered femples, and either disallowed the me of sculpture, or else 
were ignorant of the art ; the central figures would be r«pre- 
sented by rude masses of wood or stone, and the rude pillars 
. of the constellations would occupy the outward circle, as in 
the British monuments, delineated by Dr. Borlase and other 

That the Druldical temples were generally of a round 
form, appears by the appellative terms which the Bards 
constantly use in describing them, as Caer Sidi, the circle 
of revolution ; Cor, a round or circle, Cylch^ a circle ; and 
Cylck Byd, the circle of the world, which occurs in Anevirin 
and Taliesin.* 

It is also evident, that they were composed of stone: for 
Aneurin, Taliesin, and Merddin, speak of the stones which 
composed these circles. But let us endeavour to identify 
one of their circular temples, that we may have some rule 
to judge of the rest. 

In the poems of Hy wel, the son of Owen, which I have 
already quoted, that prince says expressly, that the proud- 
brought iTiclosure in the Gyvylchi, in the desert of Anion, in 
Eryri, or Snowden, and towards the shore, was the Caer, or 
sanctuary of the mystical goddess, and the chosen place of 
her daughter Llywy, or the British Proserpine. 

The topography of this temple is so mintitely pointed" 

• To this I may add, Cylch Balch Nevwy, the proud^ox magnificent, edestial 
circle, round which the majestic eahs, the symbols of Taronwy, the god of 
thunder, spread their arms, 

Talitsin, Cerdd Daronmy. 


out, that the spot cannot he mistaken : and If we find here 
a monument which has any appearance of representing the 
Zodiac, or Celestial Caer Sidi, it may serve as a guide, 
in distinguishing other British monuments of the same 

Dvry-Gyviflchi is still known, ^s the name of a parish, 
in the very spot where the Cambrian prince fixes his Cae^ 
Wen Glaer, or sanctuary of the illustrious Lady, in the de- 
serts of Arvon, in Eryri, and towards the sea: and here 
the remains of the Caer are still to be found. 

. The annotator upon Camden, having described a strong 
fortress, " seated on the top of one of the highest moun- 
" tains, of that part of Snowden, which lies towards the sea ;" 
gives the following account of this ancient tempki 

." About a mile from this fortification, stands the most 
" remarkable monument in all Snowden, called Y Meineu 
" Hirion, upon the plain mountain, within the parish of 
" I>\vy-Gyvycheu, above Gwddw Gl&s, It is a circular 
" eiitrenchment, about twenty-six yards diameter; on the 
" outside whereof, are certain rude, stone pillars ; of which 
" about twelve are now standing, some two yards, and 
" others five foot high : and these are again encompassed 
" with a stone wall. It stands upon the plain mountain, as 
" soon as we come to the height, having much even ground 
" about it ; and not far from it, there are three other large 
" stones, pitched on end, in a triangular form."* 

We are also told that, at the distance of about three fur- 

Gibson's Camdea, Col. BOS. 


longs from this monument, there are several huge heap*, or 
Cams, and also cells, constructed of huge stones, fixed ia 
the ground, and each cell covered with one o^ two stones 
of a superior size. 

Such was the sanctuary which was held sacred to Cerid- 
wen and Tulyiey, or Ceres and Proserpine, in the middle of 
ijie twelfth century, an age in which the honours of those 
characters were nol forgotten: for we have already seen, 
that their mysteries, strange as the fact may appear, were 
still celehrated, not only with toleration, hut also under the 
patronage of the British princes. 

Hywel's avowed veneration of those mysteries, Into which 
he himself had been initiated, would not have permitted 
him to speak lightly, and at random, upon the subjects of 
this hallowed fane. And his own studious disposition,' 
joined with his rank in society, must have procured him 
access to the best information, respecting the antiquities 
of his country, had any deep research been requisite. But 
this case presented no difficulty. There could have been 
no doubt of the intention of a temple, which was sacred 
to an existing superstition. A regular succession of mystical 
Bards had hitherto been maintained, from the days of 
Taliesih, and from the ages of pure Druidism. 

Hence, by comparing this structure with the facts pre- 
viously stated, we may fairly conclude, that in those ages, 
the temples which were sacred to British mysteries, werie 
regai-ded as images of Caer Sidi, or the Zodiac, as they 
were dignified with its name, or else were so construct- 
ed as to represent some of the phanomena, displayed in 
that celestial zone. ' '"" 


In this monument of the Gymfhhi, we find the eii'de of 
tpelve stones, which undpubtedly represented the twelve 
signs, the same which appeared jipon the Antique, pub- 
lished by M. De Gebelin, commemorative of the history 
of Ceres and Proserpine. 

From the desoription quoted out of Camden, imperfect 
as it is, we may infer, -that the temple of the -Gyvylchi is. 
a work of the same kind as those circular monuments of 
stone, which have attracted the notice of the curious, from 
theSouth to the North extremity of this Island, and which 
our best antiquaries pronounce, not only to have been tem^ 
pies of the heathen Britons, but also to have been con- 
structed upon dstronomifial principles : in short, to have re- 
presented, either tl^e Zodiac itself, or certain cycles and 
computations, deduced frqrn the study of astronomy. Hejice 
the frequent repetition of twehe, nineteen, tMrty, oi sixty 
stones> which has been remarked in the circles of these 

Our fane of Snowden, it is admitted, could never have 
vie4 in inagnificence, with a Stonehenge, or an Ahury. In 
the ages of Druidism, it could have been regarded only as 
a^opincial sanctuary, but the number of twelve stonds which 
constitutes its circle, is twice repeated in the stupendoiis 
fabric of Ahury ; it freq^uently occurs also, in the Cornish 
monuments, not^d by Dr. Bqrlase ; and it is found in the 
complete temple of Classemiss, in the Western Isles of 
ScQtland. Here is also the cell, consisting of three huge 
stones, erected in a, triangular form, as in the structure of 

From this little Cambrian chapel, then I§t us endeavou? 

303 - 

to trace our way to the larger moauments of British super- 

That Stonehenge was a Druidical temple of high emi- 
nence, .and that its construction eyinces considerable pror 
ficiency in astronomy, has been the decided opinion of 
many respectable antiquaries. That I may not multiply 
proofs of a fact so generally known, I shall only extract part 
of the leai-ned Mr. Maurice's remarks upon that celebrated 

" But of all the circular temples of the Druids, (says the 
" author of the Indian Antiquities) as Stonehenge is the 
" most considerable, a description of it from the most an- 

*' cient and the most modern writer on that subject is 

" here presented to the reader. I take it for granted, that 
" the passage cited by DiodoruSt from iJecatew^, .arjifl be- 
" fore alluded to by Mr. Knight, is [to be understood of] 
" this identical temple , of Stonehenge, or Choir Gaur, its 
" ancient British name, meaning, according to Stukeley, 
" the Great Cathedral or Grand^ Choir; and surely, no wa- 
" tional church could ever better deserve that distinguished 
" appellation."* ^ : 

The author then quotes the passage from Diodorus, re- 
specting the Hyperborean temple of Apollo, to which he 
adds the following remark— '* Such is the account given 
" near two thousand years ago, of this circular temple, for 
" IT COULD MEAN NO OTHER, by Diodorus the Sicilian, 
" from a writer still prior in time."f 

• lod. Antiq. V. VI. p. 1S3. 
+ Ibid. p. 13$. 


Mr. Maurice, in the next place, extracts the description 
■which is given of the same monument, in Mr. Gough's 
edition of Camden ; and these are his remarks upon it. 

" There is no occasion for my troubling the reader with 
" any extended observations, on these accounts of Stone- 
'^ henge. Whoever has read, or may be inclined to read 
" my history of oriental archi|ecture, as connected with 
" the astrononjical, and mythological notions of the anci- 
" ents, printed in the third volume of this work — may see 
" most of the assertions realized, in the form and arrange- 
" ment of this old Di-uid temple. For, in the first place, 
" it is circular, as it is there proved, all ancient temples to 

" the Sun and Vesta- were. In the second place, the 

" Adytum or Sanctum Sanctorum, is of an oval form, re- 
" presenting the Mundane egg, after the manner that all 
" those adyta, in which the sacred fire perpetually blazed^-— 
" were constantly fabricated. In the third place, the situ- 
*' ation is fixed astronomically, as we shall make fuUy evi- 
" dent when we come to speak of Abury : the grand en- 
" trances, both of this tjemple, and that superb monument 
" of antiquity, being placed exactly North-east, as all the 
" gdies or portals of the ancient caverns, and cavern temples 
" were ; especially those dedicated to Mithra, that is, the 
" sun,—' ■ 

"■ In the fourth place, the number of stones and uprights 
" (in the outward circle) making together, exactly «zjr/y, 
" plainly alludes to that peculiar, and prominent feature of 

" Asiatic astronomy, the sexagenary cycle while the 

" number of stones, forming the minor circle of the cove, 
" being exactly nineteen, displays to us the famous Metonic, 
" or rather Indian cycle; and that of thirty, repeatedly 


•' occurring, the celebrated age, or generation of the 
": Druids. 

" Fifthly, the temple being uncovered, proves it to have 
" been erected under impressions, similar to those which 
" animated the ancient Persians, virho rejected the ini- 
" pious idea of confining the Deity-^within — an inclosed 
" shrine, however magnificent, and therefore, consequently, 
" at all events, it must have been erected before the age 
" of Zoroaster, who flourished more than five hundred 
" years before Christ, and who first covered in the Persian 
" temples. 

" And finally, the heads and hortts of oxen and other 
" animals, found buried on the spot, prove that the san- 
" guinary rites, peculiar to the Solar superstition — ^were 
" actually practised, within the awful bounds of this hallowed 
" circle."* 

I have omitted a few clauses, in which the ingenious au- 
thor derives the British, immediately from the Indian su- 
perstition ; partly because his opinion might appear to dis- 
advantage, unsupported by the arguments which are ad- 
duced in various parts of this dissertation ; and partly be- 
cause I have some kind of evidence, that what was exotic in 
the system of the' Britons, came to them by the way of 
Cornwall, and therefore was probably derived to them from 
the Phoenicians.* 

Our learned author's opinion of the dignity of this struc- 

• Ind. Antiq. V. VI. p. 128. 
t See Sect. 5. 


tttre, of the knowledge of astronomy displayed in its plan, 
and of its destination as a heatlien temple, I should suppose 
will hardly be dispi^ted. Yet still, those gentlemen who 
assert, that the Druids left no monuments behind them, but 
their venerated oaks, will pertinaciously contend, that no 
evidence has been produced, to connect the design of this 
stupendous ,pile, with the national superstition of the 

It appears to me, however, that considerable evidence of 
this connection does exist ; and I hope, I shall not perform 
an unacceptable office to the public in bringing it forward. 

A great and notorious event, namely, the massacre of 
the British nobility in the neighbourhood of Stonehenge, 
by Hengist, the Saxon king of Kent, furnished the ancient 
British writers with occasion, for the frequent mention of 
this venerable pile. 

The story of this massacre is familiar to the old writers of 
England and Wales ; but by way of introduction to the do- 
cuments which I rnean to produce, it may be proper to 
insert a connected account of its circumstances, from a mo- 
dern author of the fornier nation. 

Mr. Warrington, in his history of Wales, relates the 
transaction in this manner. 

When Hengist and his Saxons approached the British 
coast, after the death of Vortimer, they found that the in- 
habitants, under the command of Vortigern, were fully de- 
termined to oppose their landing. Upon this occasion, the 
Saxon chief had recourse to an expedient, suggested by 


liis wily and fertile imagination, as well as from a kriowledge 
of the people, with whom he had to act. In this artifice, 
the weakness or the treachery of Vortigern was employed,. 
Hengist sent to assure that monarch, that his purpose of 
coming into Britain was not to oifer any violence to the 
kingdom, but only to make a vigorous opposition against 
his son Vortimer, whom he artfully pretended, he thought 
to have been alive. 

It was likewise proposed by Hengist, that an interview 
should take place between them, and that each of the 
chiefs should meet at the place appointed, attended by the 
most eminent of his train; and in order to. banish every 
idea of hostile intention, it was artfully suggested by the 
Saxon, that both parties should appear without their arms. 
The proposal was agreed to by the king ; the time of meet- 
ing was fixed for the May following; and the place ap- 
pointed for the interview was at Stonehenge, upon Salisbury 

In the meantime, Hengist having assembled his chief- 
tains, laid open to them his design, that under the colour of 
meeting the Britons, for the purposes of peace, and to 
establish a lasting alliance, he intended to murder the 
chiefs who should attend Vortigern to the interview ; that 
by striking so decisive a blow, he might cut the sinews of 
futureresistance. At the same time he gave orders, that 
his train, who attended the meeting, should carry knives 
concealed in their sleeVes; that when the signal was given, 
each of them should instantly stab the person who sat next 
to him; and he closed this infernal order, by requiring 
them to behave like men, and to shew no mercy to any 
jiierson, but to the king. 


Notwithstanding the many proofs the Saxons had givert 
of their perfidy, the Britons, with a degree of credulity/ 
peculiar to themselves, fell into the snare, and came nn-' 
armed to the place appointed for the interview; where, 'hy 
the contrivance of Hengist, they were placed with hi» 
train, alternately at the tables, under the pretence of con- 
fidence, and of a friendly intercourse with each other. 

When the festivity was at the height, and probably, in 
the unguarded inonifents of intoxication, Hengist gave the 
signal agreed on — Take your Seaxes. At that instant, every 
Saxon drew out his knife, and plunged it into the bosom 
of the person who sat next to him. Above three hundred 
of the British nobility, the most eminent for their talents, 
in the council or in the field, perished in this bloody ca- 
rousal. — Vortigern was spared in the general carnage, though 
detained a prisoner by Hengist ; probably with no other 
design, than as a cover to a subsequent act of the British 
prince, which carries with it a strong appearance of base- 
ness; for in order to obtain his liberty, he made an assign- 
ment to the Saxon chief, of the counties of Norfolk and 
Sussex, and also confirmed him in the possession of his for- 
mer territories.* 

To these incidents of the massacre, many old writers add 
the exploit of Eidiol or Eidol, a British prince, who had 
the" good fortune to escape. His character is recognized 
by English antiquaries, who call him Eldol or Edol, and 
say that he was Earl of Gloucester, in the year 46 1 .f 

» Warrington's Hist, of Wales, lat Edit. p. 57. 

+ See Dugdale's Baronage, p. 1, witli his authority : and Gibson's Camden, 
col. 287. EaH must be here regarded as a mere translation of his British 



Tlie Triads speak of this Eidiol's having killed an incre- 
dible number of the Saxons, on the day of Hengist's plot, 
with a quick-beam truncheon.* The Welsh chronicles of 
Tyssilio and Geoffry, which in this sera, may be allowed 
to blend some true history with their fable, limit the num- 
ber which he slew, to seventy men. But these annalists, 
finding that Eidiolwas both a temporal prince, and a bishop, 
have thought proper to give us two brothers of that name, 
styling one of them Earl, and the other 'Bisfiop of Glou- 
cester. This must be a mistake. The two characters were 
united in one person, and I conjecture, that this person was 
no other than Emrys, or Amhrosius, who immediately after 
the massacre, was elevated to the British throne. The very 
same actions are ascribed to Eidiol and to Emrys, such as 
burying the British nobles, erecting their monument at Aui- 
bresbury, taking Hengist prisoner at Caer Gymn, or Co- 
ijisborow, and causing him to be beheaded.']- If this Eidiol 
was not Ambrosius, we must consider him as the great 
agent and counsellor of that prince, to whom his actions 
were consequently ascribed, 

But to proceed. It were not to be expected, that the circum- 
, stances of this massacre, so menjiorable in the history of our 
country, should be passed over in silence by the Bards of the 
sixth century. Their lamentations upon the woeful subject, 
are frequent and pathetic. Of these,' I shall produce two in- 
stances, which wjU fully explain the light, in which qui 

• W. Arehaiol. V. II. p. 68. 

+ Compare W. ArchaioJ. V. II. p. 255, 856—271—273, with Gibson's 
Camden, Col. 847, and Warrington's Hist, of Wales, p. 64, and his aulho- 

See also the songs of the Godo'dio, in the sequel of this section. 


remote ancestors contemplated the celebrated fabric of 
Stonehenge. The first of these documents is the 

Song of CUHELYN.* 

Greid bleid blyghawd 
Gretyf detyf durawd 

Gnawd brawdwriaeth 

Gwr oet Eiteol 
Gonvy reol 

Gordetliol doeth 

Gwyfch vill Dragon 
Gosparth Brython 

Gosgyman weith 

Gnawt tryganet 
Gnawt kyhidet 

Gorset metveith 

Met win kyvran 
Marchauc midlan 

Man meidrolaeth. 

Medrit mur Ior 
*■ Maus pedir pedror 

Mawk cor kyvoeth. 

* W. Atchaiol. p. 164. In the table of contents, it is ascribed to a Bard of 
the eighth eentury ; but in Mr. Owen's Com. Biog^ more accnrately, to Cu- 
helyn the son of Caw, about tl>e middle of the sixth cmtury. 


Moes breisc vreyr 
Moes wiith vehir 

Milwr orwyth. 

Maer claer kywid 
Mad cathyl kyvid 
Moidit ieith. 

Mas cas nognaw 
Maer antedawg i' I 

Maredawg doeth. 

Medel visci 
Mel vartoni 

Mynogi gwyth. 

Myn vinad vron 
Medw mal ton " ' 

M.or tros^draeth. 

Mer kerteu kein 
Myvir corein 

Mirein Anoeth, 

Menestir Vytud 
Meuet vedud 

Molud esmwyth. 

Music a gan 
Mal eur orian 

Man vyhanieth. 

Gweith reith rysset 


Gwich ruich rywet 
Rinwet Reen. 

Rec rysiolav 
Rec a aichav 

Ruymav Virchen. 

Rhuthyr uthyr awe! 
Rynaut uvel 

Ryvel febin. 

Ruteur dyrlyt 
Rychlut clotryt 

Rihit adien 

Reuvet parawd 
Rin vyn wascaw4 

Tra gwawd wobrin, 

Ry hait itawt 
Rycheid^ y najvt 

Rac kawt gelyn, 

Rychetwis detyf ,^ 

Rychwynis gretyf 

Rae lletyf Ogyrven, 

Rae dac drossot 
Reghit brid bod 

Rot Cuhelin, 

Of this poem, the following is as close a translation, as 
the concise and obscure language of the Bard will admit. 


Darkening was the sullen wrath of the wolf,* naturally 
addicted to the law of steel, his accustomed rule of decisioti. 

At the time when the brave Eidiol was presiding in the 
circle, a man eminently distinguished for wisdoip : 

Then the chief, having malice in his designs against the 
Britons, made with them a pretended compact. 

A proclamation was issued, inviting equal numbers to a 
conference at a banquet of mead. 

The mead and wine are distributed by the knighf of the 
inclosure, at the appointed spot : 

And the spot appointed, was in the precinct of Idi" ; in 
the fair quadrangular area of the gkeat sangtua^y of 


To indulge the brawny chief— to indulge him whose vir- 
tue was the rushing of spears, the warrior, supreme ii^ 

The illustrious chief of song raises the munificent strain 
in the language of panegyric : 

But death was the hateful reward of the indwelling chief 
of song, magnificent and wise. 

The reaping blade confounded the honied strain of Bar^ 
(dism with the gratification of fury : 

* ffengitti a: it >9 fully evident from tbe subsetjueot passages. 


The breast, intent upon violence, rages like the dtunken 
wave of the sea, tumbling over the strand: 

It overwhelms the pleasing strains> the study of the ch'cle, 
the fair circle of Anoetk, 

Thus, , the minister of BvMud, possessing the talent to 
rehearse the gentle song of praise, 

, Chaunted his music, like a golden hymn, on the area of 

But it was the battle of sudden asSattlt— of the dreadful, 
bursting shriek — the mystetibus purpose of the chief. 

Who eixclaimed with a curse — " I will rush forth" — with 
an execration — " I will command! I wiU bind the so- 
vereign : 

" Like the sudden bttr&tiilg of a dreadful gale, blow ye 
',' up. the conflagration of war against the youthful heroes. 

" The flaming gold will he merit, who overwhelms the 
" ^renowned ; and he shall be defended blameless : 

" Here is aflSuence provided for us : — the purpose of my 
" mind is a protection from the obloquy of the enterprise !" 

Pre-eminent was his merit, who strove to protect the 
sanctuary from the violence of the foe. 

He did preserve the institute, though nature groaned 
indignant before the gentle goddess. 


Instead of a tear shed over him, may his soul be gratified 
with this tribute of Cuhelin ! 

When the descriptions in this ancient poem are atten- 
tively compared with the incidents of the massacre perpe- 
trated by Hengist, I think no doubt can remain as to the 
particular event of history to which the Bard refers. 

Cuhelyn's design is clearly a tribute of respect to the 
memory of Eidiol, whose history is invariably connected 
with that of the Saxon chief. He is here described as high 
priest, or president of the sacred circle, and as knight of the 
inclosure, who distributed the liquor at the feast, and after- 
wards preserved the sanctuary. 

I shall presently shew, that each of these particulars is 
fully confirmed by the strains of Aneurin ; from which we 
also learn, that the feast was celebrated, and the horrid 
deed perpetrated, in a suite of temporary buildings, upon 
the Ystre, or Cursus., into which one of the avenues leads 
from the great temple. " This (Cursus) is half a mile 
" North from Stonehenge, ten thousand feet, or two miles 
" long, inclosed by two ditches, three hundred and fifty 
" feet asunder." * Here was the precinct of Idr, the fair 
quadrangular area of the great sanctuary of the dominion, 
lor is a name sometimes applied to the Supreme Being, but 
borrowed from British mythology, where it seems to have 
meant the sun — moving within his orbit, or circle. 

• Ind. Antiq. Vol. VI. p, 


Both in name and character, this British divinity seems 
to be closely alHed to the Orus of Egypt, " The supposed 
" son of Isis, who was an emblem of the ark, that recep- 
" tacle, which was styled the mother of mankind. He is 
" represented as undergoing, from the Titans, all that 
" Osiris suffered from Typhon ; and the history, at the hot- 
" tom, is the same. Hence it is said of Isis, that she had 
" the power of making people immortal; and that, when 
" she found her son Orus in the midst of the waters, dead 
" through the malice of the Titans, she not only gave 
" him a renewal of life, but also conferred upon him im- 
" mortality,"* 

" Both Oriis and Osiris were styled Heliadae, and often 
*' represented as the sun himself." f. 

The identity of Ceridwen and Isis, as to general cha- 
racter, has been already shewn ; and as we find, that the 
former was present in this circle by the name of Lieddv, 
Ogyrven, the gentle goddess, so lor seems to h^ve been a 
name of her recovered son, Avagddu, 

Geoffry of Monmouth's Choir Gaur, or more accuratelj', 
C6r Gawr, the great circle, or sanctuary, has been often 
quoted by antiquaries, as the British name of this fabric 
of Stonehenge. In this poem of Cuhelyn, we have not 
only Manor Cor, which is exactly synonymous with the 
other, but Mawr Cor Cyvoeth, the great circle, or sanctuary 
of the dominion, implying its pi'erogative, as the metropo- 
litan temple of the Britons ; which fully comes up to the 
idea of Dr. StuTceley and Mr. Maurice, 

• Bryant's Analysis, V. II. p. 327, 330. 
t Ibid, p, 394. 


That a heathen tenl{)le should be deemed to retain stich a 
J)rerogative in the middle of the fifth century, must be 
regarded as a singular fact; But the populace of Britain 
had not hitherto been radically converted from their na- 
tional superstition ; and in this age, pelagianism, which 
blended much of that superstition with a few shreds of 
Christianity, was very prevalent amongst them. 

Aneurin, as well as our present author, speaks of the 
murder of a Bard, as the first act of open outrage com- 
mitted at the feast. This victim is here described as in- 
dteelling, or resident in the temple. He is styled the illus- 
trious president of song, and the minister of Buddud, the 
same, I presume, as Buddug, the goddess of victory. 

Upon the whole, we have, in this little poem, a full ac- 
knowledgement of the dignity of the venerable pile of 
Stonehenge, and a direct testimony of its consecration to 
several known objects of superstition, amongst the heathen 
Britons. ' 

I must now hasten to prepare the reader for the other 
British document, which I promised upon the same sub- 
jecti This is no other than the celebrated Gododin, a work 
of £^bout nine hundred lines, composed by Aneurin, a 'Nor- 
thumbrian Briton. It will be necessary to introduce this 
work, with some prefatory observations. 

Mr. Turner, in his Vindication, has fully ascertained the 
facts, that such a Bard as Aneurin did live between the 
years 500 and 600, and that the Gododin is his genuine 
production. The great antiquary, Edward Llwyd, dates the 
composition, An. 510. 


An historical poem of that age, composed by an indivi- 
dual of a British tribe, which for a thousand years has 
ceased to exist, may surely he deemed in itself a subject of 
curiosity. This circumstance, together with the high im- 
portance which the English antiquaries attach to the struc- 
ture of Stonehenge, will, I trust, apologize for the neces- 
sary length of the present iarticle. 

The name of the Gododin is not new to the public. Se- 
veral ti'anslated specimens of it have appeared, and some of 
these allured the lofty muse of Grai/. The work has been 
pronotlnced a noble heroic poem, and the subject is said tO' 
have been a disastrous action, in which the author himself 
bore a part. But the work has been celebrated, more than 
studied. Not one of its admirers, that I know of, has at- 
tempted to identify the event, which constitutes its prin- 
cipal subject; or has even suspected that it alludes to the 
actions of Hengist, or to the massacre at Stonehenge : so 
that I must either establish my proposition, that sucli is the 
main business of the poem, or else expect some severe chas- 
tisement from the modern critics of my country. 

For the imperfection of the view which has hitherto been 
taken of this work, I may account upon many scores. The 
poem is ancient, and wholly unattended with explanatory 
notes. The subject has not much local connexion with the 
affairs of Wales, and consequently has excited but little 
inquiry amongst the natives, the only people who under- 
stand the language of the Bard. Tlie orthography is ob- 
solete ; and the author's dialect had some original variation 
from that of any Welsh tribe. The Bard seldom introduces 
the proper names of his heroes ; but, as it is usual in popu- 
lar songs, and especially political songs, composed in trou- 


blesome times, generally describes them by characteristical 
epithets, which, however, obvious they may have been in 
the days of the author, are now become much less so by 
the lapse of ages. All these circumstances conspire to draw 
a veil of obscurity over a work, which is viewed through 
the medium of thirteen centuries. And this obscurity is 
abundantly increased by the bad preservation of the text. 
Of this, no greater proof need be given, than a mere 
exhibition of the various readings, which nearly equal the 
number of lines. 

These, for the most part, are- only orthographical. They 
seem to have arisen from the misapprehension of the cha- 
racters, or letters, of some o»e copy, which was either anti- 
quated or defaced. But this supposed original of the 
modern transcribers, was evidently imperfect; for all the 
known copies agree in exhibiting certain passages in mere 
fraginfsnts, without connection of sense or metre. 

Such are the reasons why the Gododin has not hitherto 
been translated entire, or even perfectly understood. 

But where am I to ground my own pretensions, as an 
interpreter of this difficult work ? I^can only say, in answer 
to this query, that over and above the share which the Gof 
dodin has obtained in my general attention to the Bards, I 
have had occasion to transcribe the whole three times over ; 
and once very lately, from a good copy on vellum, written 
apparently about the year 1200, and which was'not used by 
the editors of the Archaiqlogia. I have also reduced all 
the author's words into alphabetical ordef, with a reference 
to the lines in which they occur. This labour rendered 
Aneurin's expressions and phrases familiar to me, gave me 
a facility in comparing part with part, and suggested a 


fefefetice, whenever I met with a passage in any othfii' 
Bard, which seemed to hear upon the suhject of the Go- 
dodin. And as all the parts of the work are not equally 
obscure, I now began to understand passages of consider-' 
able length, and to fix some leading marks, as so many 
clues to the investigation of the general subject. 

Thus prepared, I went over the! whole Gododin, line by 
line, with Mr. Owen's Dictionary at ipy elbow, setting 
down the literal construction, as nearly as it could be ob- 
tained, however incoherent it might appear. And in re- 
vising my papers, I plainly perceived, that this Work can- 
not be regarded as a single poem, composed upon any one 
determinate plan ; but that, on the contrary, it consists of a 
Series of short detached songs, relating principally to one 
great subject, which is taken up and dismissed in one of 
those detached parts, and again resumed in another. This 
discrimination agrees with the title of the work, in the very 
ancient copy upon vellum, described by Edward Llwyd,* 
where it is called Y Godadynne, in the plural number — The 
Gododins. In the preface to the Incantation of Cynvelyn, 
and of Maelderw,i- this work is described as a series of 
Odleu a Chanuau, odes and soil gs ; and it is intimated, that 
they originally amounted to tri chanu a thriugaint a thn- 
chant, 363 songs. In the old and valuable copy, lately 
communicated tome by my excellent friend, Mr. Jones, J 
what now remains of the work is divided into ninety-four 
parts, ornamented with large initials, in green and red 
alternately. And the idea of the detached nature of these 

" ArcliSEol. Britan. p. 262. 
+ W. Arclmiol. V. I. p. 61. 
$^The learned author of the History of Brecknockshire. 


songs, is confirmed by, the author himself, who tells us, 
that it was his custT)m to compose a Cenig, sonnet, or shoit 
song of the Gododin, to amuse the nightly horrors of a 
solitary prison. 

I also perceived that the great catastrophe, which the 
13ard deplores in most of the remaining songs, was not, as 
it has been generally represented, the fall of 360 nobles in 
the f eld of battle, to which they had rushed forth in a state 
, of intoxication,' hut the massacre of 360 unarmed British 
nobles, in time of peace, and at a feast, where they had been 
arranged promiscuously with armed Saxons. 

An event of this kind cannot be supposed to have whplly 
escaped the notice of history : yet it is clear, that neither his- 
tory nor tradition, whether British or Saxon, has preserved 
the slightest hint of any such thing having happened in this 
island in the sixth century, or in any other period of the 
British annals, excepting in one instance, namely, the 
massacre of the Britons at Stonehenge, about the year 472. 

The memory of this event is familiar to the historians of 
both nations ; and we shall find by the sequel, that the 
Bard confirms most of the incidents which have been re- 
corded. This is, therefore, the identical catastrophe which 
Aneurin deplores. 

But will this decision correspoiid with the age of Aneurin? 

The Bard represents himself as having beep present at 
the bloody spectacle ; and Edward Llwyd refers the era of the 
Gododin to the year 510, and this, probably, upon the 
authority of the ancient MS. which be quotes in the ^ame 
passage. . 


Here is no discordance of dates, which may not he fairly 
reconciled. There is no improbability in Aneurin's having' 
attended the feast, as a young Bard, in 472, and his having 
bewailed the friends of his youth thirty-eight years after- 
wards, when, as an old, unfortunate warrior, he had fallen 
iato the hands of the foe, and was confined in a dreary 
dungeon. < 

And indeed, it appears evidently from the face of the 
work, that the events which the Bard commemorates,- had 
preceded the date of the composition by a long interval of 
years; for he supports the" credit of the circumstaficefs which 
he details— by the relation of a Briton, who had escaped — 
by the particulars which were known to Taliesin — by the 
oral testimony of some old chiefs— and by the authority of 
certain songsj which had been composed upon the occasion. 
' He also touches upon the affairs of those eventful times, 
which had succeeded the fatal feast. So that, upon the 
whole, it is cleai-, that an internal of thirty or forty years 
must have elapsed between the woful subject of Aneurin's 
songs, and the date of their composition. 

When we have made due allowance for this interval, we 
must necessarily carry back tlie catastrophe, which the 
Bard deplores, from the date of the composition in 510, 
into the age of Hengist, and fix it, with the greatest ap- 
pearance of accuracy, at the era of the celebrated massacre 
at Stonehenge. And to the circumstances which history 
records of this event, the allusions of the Bard so precisely 
and exclusively apply, that it is impossible to refer them to 
any othfer event. 

This is my decided opinion. I foresee, however, a few 
objections, which it may be proper to obviate. • 

It will be asked — Why has not the Bard mentioned 
Hengist^ and his British partizans, by mmef To this it 
may be answered, that Aneurin, at the time wheii he com- 
posed most of his songs, was a prisoner of war in the hands 
of the Saxons. The introduction of names might have 
subjected him to personal danger : he therefore chose the 
safer way of gratifying his resentment, by giving such bold 
hint^ of the affairs, and the individuals to which he alluded, 
that they could not be mistaken ; and fhis method afforded 
him an opportunity of paiiiting his indignation more for- 
cibly, by sarcastic epithets, than he could have done it by 
explicit attacks upon the person of Hengist. 

Against the locality of Aneulrin's subject, as referred to 
the temple of Stonehenge, it may be objected, that the 
term Gododin, in Nennius, implies the region of the Otta" 
dini, between the rampart of Antonine, and the wall of 
Severus : whilst in several passages of this poetn, we find 
that Gododin means the same as Gatti'aeth, the place where 
the nobles assembled at the feast, and where they fell. 

This is certainly an ambiguity ; and it was probably in- 
tended as such, for the same prudential reason which I have 
mentioned above. But if we attend to the composition, 
and the actual application of the name, we shall find that it 
furnished a fair opportunity for a double interpretation. 

Godo is a partial covering, and Din a fence or outwork 
As applied to the region of the Ottadini, it means that dis 
triot which is partly covered or protected by the Northern 
rampart; and the word is equally descriptive of the British 
temples or sanctuaries, which were open at top, yet pro- 
tected by » surrounding rampart or bank. 

y 2 


And that the name of Godo was actually/ appropriated to 
these temples, we have ah-eady seen, in treating of the fa- 
mily of the British Ceres : for Seithin Saidi, Jamts or 
Saturn, the representative of the patriarch, is styled Por- 
thawr Godo, the guardian of the gate of Godo, or the unco- 
vered sanctuary. 

Cattraeth, or, according to the older orthography, Ca- 
traith, is liable to the same ol^jection, and admits of the 
same solution. This name has some' similarity to Cataiick, 
near Richmond, in Yorkshire, the Cataracton of the an- 
cients. Yet it is not h^tice to be suspected, that by Go- 
dodin and Cattraeth, our author meant to point out an 
OUadinian town of that name ; for Cataracton was not 
within,, or very near the borders of the Ottadini; so that 
some other meaning must be sought. 

Ill the preceding section, to which I have just-referred, 
it is remarked, that the same Seithin Saidi bad .a son, named 
Cadeiriaith, the language of the chair or presidency ; and 
also Cadraith or Catraith, which seems to be only a con- 
traction of the former. This mythological character cer- 
tainly represents the laws, &c. of the Druids, pronounced 
from the chair of presidency, or Bardic cathedral, hence 
figuratively applied to the great temple itself. And, from 
many passages of Aneurin's work, it is evident that this is 
the precise import of his Catraith. 

Having, as I have already stated, oblaiued such a ge- 
neral view of the nature and subject of the Gododin; as 
enabled me to estimate th,e value of most of the various 
readings, I sat down patiently to re-translate the whole 
as closely as possible, without sacrificing perspicuity to the 
mere jdiom of my author, and with the most minute atten- 


tion to Mr. Owen's explanation of obsolete words, even in 
those passages which seemed most intelligible. And, I 
think, I have made out Aneurin's meaning with tolerable 
clearness, considering the nature of the work, and the state 
of the copy ; though it may be admitted as probable, that 
a careful examination of our original historians would re- 
flect some additional light upon several passages. 

I bad some thoughts of adding the British text, as accu- 
rately as it can be obtained, from a collation of the various 
copies ; but as it is of considerable length, I have omitted 
it, in compassion to the English reader. 

The division of the songs in this work, was the result of 
my own observation and conjecture ; and therefore, though 
it be generally confirmed by Mr. Jones's ancient copy, I 
submit it to the censure of the critical reader, who, by pass- 
ing over that division, may read the Gododin as one entire 




" GEEDvr GWK OED GWAs."* — W. Archaiol. p. 1. 

Aneurim commemorates the young Bard, his Associate, 
whom Hengist had slain at the Feast. See the Poem of 
Cuhelyn, in the former Part of the Section, and No. l6 
and 25, of the present Series. 

Manly was the soul of the youths whose merit I record 
with sorrow. A swift thick-maned steed was under the 
thigh of the fair youth. His shield, light and broad, 
hung upon the slender courser. His blue and unspotted 
taeapon was the assuager of tumult.-f- 

With me shall remain no hatred towards thee. I will do 
better for thee — in poetry will I praise thee. The floor 
will be stained with blood, before thou shalt enjoy the genial 

. • Gredyf gwr oed gwast^ 

Gwthyt a'm dias. 

t The clean weapon of the Bard, like the Hasta Pura of the Romans, seemj 
to have been an emblem of peace. — The Bards were regarded as heralds of 
peace. — See song 25, where this Bard is iatroduQed by the name of Oicf R« 

For Ethy aur a Plmn, I read 

jjAjiwr Aphan, 



feast. The raven shall have his food, before thou wilt lift 
the hostile spear, O Owen, my dear companion ! 

There is sorrow in the plain, where the son of Marro was, 
slaughtered ! 



The Bard descants upon the Manners of Hengist, and touches 
upon some Particulars of the Plot, which he appears to 
have concerted, in Part, zeith Vortigern, the British King. 

Adokned with his wreath,* the chief of the rustics an- 
nounced, that upon his arrival, unattended by his host, and 
in the presence 6f the Maid,-f he w<?uld give the mead ; 
but he would strike the front of his shield,:]: if he heard the 
din of war, and to those whom he pursued, he would give ' 
no quarter. 

But against those who would not retreat fronj. battle, till 
their blood flowed like -rivulets — against the hproes who 

* Caeawc, wearing a wreath — ^This was a wreath of amber beids, as appears 
from the subsequent paragraphs, which also prove that the Bard means Hengist. 
I recollect no authority for ascribing wreaths of amber to the native Britons; 
but the costume appears upon many of the old Saxou coins, published by 

+ B&a, the maid, a name of Llywy, the British Proserpine, at whose festivals 
contention and tumult were deemed sacrilegious. See song 35. 

i The phrase, Twl tal y rodawc repeatedly occurs. It has been translated, 
" the front of whose shield was pierced;" but it evidently implies, mahing a 
lignal, by striking the shield. 


would not give way, he cherished a dark resentment. The 
man of Gododin, upon his return before the tents of Ma- 
dawc, has reported but one man in a hundred, who escaped 
from the hand of theVater-dw^Uer.* 

Adorned with his wreath, the chief of the halberds which 
oppress the natives, like an eagle, rushed into our harbours 
when invited.f His compact J took effect. His signal^ 
was duly observed. He had devised, a better stratagem. || 
Here, his party did not shrink, though they had fled before 
the army of Gododin.^ The water-dweller boldly invites 
us to a mixed assembly, where neither, spear nor shield** 

was to be admitted " Thus there could be no strife 

" amongst the jovial company : the heroes would be pre- 
" served from a sudden stroke." 

Adorned with a wreath was the leader of the sea-drifted 

* The -Bard describes the Saxons, in this ^ork, by several terms, which im- 
ply sea rovers. Ar law 'r Morctei, 

+ The Saxons were invited, the first time, by Vortigern, and afterwards by 


t The compact of a friendly meeting, proposed by Hengist. 

f The signal for a general massacre of the unsuspecting British nobles. 

11 His^7'st stratagem was the marriage of his daughter ; his better stratagenii 
tlie. massacre. 

<[]■ That is, before the forpes qf A^ortimer, a votary of Godo, the BritisK 

** The Bard continually reminds us,, that the Britons had neither offensive 
nor defensive arms. In song, 27, he mentions the ple<i of the Saxons, for the 
exclusion of shields-. — That there might be a clear space to light the area. The 
conclusion of this paragraph, contains a suggestion of liengist, which is well 
explained by Mr. Wiirrington, p. 59. " And in order to banish pveiy idea 
" of hdsiilc hilention, it was artfully suggested by the Saxon, that both par- 
'• ties should appear without tli^jr ^rms." 


wolves:* andof amberwas that wreatli which twined about his 
temples. Precious was the amber which could merit such a 
feast. The haughtyf chief excludes men of a humble station, 
though Gwymdd and the 'North might have come to his 
share, with the concurrence of the son of partition;]: — the 
prince with the broken shield. 

The leader, adorned with his wreath, is armed like a 
hefo. The general mark of his vengeance is the man who 
had been firm in the bloody field ; but the part which he 
selects for himself, is to give the first thrust to the conduc-r 
tor of the host,l| before whose blades five bands had fallen— 
even of the dreadful men of Deira and Bernicia, twenty 
hundred had perished in an hour.§ And as food for wolves 
is sooner provided than a nuptial feast ; as ravens may be 
furnished with prey, before the funeral bier arrive ; so the 
blood of our hero stains the floor before he lifts the spear : 

• Kaeawc kynliorawc bleid e maraii — Mr. Jones' MS. " Adorned' with his 
" wreath was the chief, even thfe wolf of the holme," i. e. Thanet. 

+ None but men of the most distinguished rank and character were admitted 
to the fatal banquet. And of those, the heroes who had fought under Vor- 
timer, were especially selected for destruction, by the united treachery of 
Vortigern and Hengist.' These were the great objects of resentment to both 
parties. The British King regarded them as the supporters of a rebellious son; 
and they had expelled the Saxon from the Island of Britain. 

% Vortigern, who had divided his kingdom with Hengist. 

II Cynqd, y w y gwr gwrd eg gwyawr ; 
Cynran,, yn racwan racbydinawr. 

$ The Scots and Picts united their forces with the Saxons, who were sta- 
tioned in the North ; and their combined army was beaten by the lieutensats 
of Vortimer. ,. Wairington, with his authorities, p. 52, 53. 


yet the lofty Kyneid* sh^ll be reaovvned, whilst a single 
^ard remains. 



The Bard deplores the Fate of the Heroes, who had fallen at 
the Feast, and touches upon some of the great Actions 
which they ha4 performed under Vortimer. 

The heroes vs^ent to Gododin cheerful and sprightly, 
whilst he, the bitter \yarrior, was disposing his blades -f in 
order. A short season of peace had they enjoyed. J The 
son of Botgat\ gave them flattering language — his hand 
explained the meaning ! They should have gone to churches 
to do penance — the old and the young, the bold and the 
powerful — the inevitable strife of death is piercing them-jl 

The heroes Went to Gododin — The insulting chief kindled 

* The Man of Kent — Pfobably the British Prince whom Voftigern hajj 
dispossessed of his domiinons, to make room fov Ucngist. This chief is in- 
trtiduced again, under the name of TudvwlcJi. 

+ The Seaxes, which Hengist's part^ privately wore at the feast. 

if From the expulsion of the Saxons by Vortimer, to the period of Hengist'i 
return — about two years and a half. 

§ Botgaf or Voigas — HeBglst's father, whom the Saxons call Wetgisse. 

II Death was inevitable, because the unarmed Britons were ranked alternately 
with armed Saxons— The next paragraph describes uol d isttle, but a 
sudden massacre. I 


in the assembly, an irresistible conflict. Tjiey were slain 
with blades, and without din, whilst the princely supporter 
of the living law was making an atonement.* 

The heroes went to Cattraeth — loqu£^cious was their as- 
semblage. Pale mead was their liquor, and it became their 

Three hundred with effective weapons, were set in 
array :•]- and after their noisy mirth— what a silence en- 
sued ! They should have gone to churches to, do penance : 
the inevitable strife of death is piercing them. 

The heroes went to Cattraeth — They drank the intoxicat- 
ing mead. !3rave and prosperous had they beep. I should 
wrong them, were I to neglect their fame ! Amidst blades, 
red, tremendous, and murky ; incessantly, and obstinately, 
iwould the dogs of battle fight. J — " (O Saxons) bad I 
" judged you to be favourers of the B^rnician clan,§ like 
" a deluge, I would not have left a man of you alive!" — 
My companion I lost, when I was secure. Successfully had 
he withstood the terror of, the usurper: thfi magnanimous 

* It appears from the subsequent parts of the Gododin, that this interposer 
was the celebrated Eidiol, a distinguished prince, and president of the Bardic 
coramnnity ; or, as he was styled in that wretched age of the British chnrch. 
Bishop of the Britons. Upon this wofnJ occasion, he acted as Seneschal, or 
Governor of the feast. He is to be regarded as A^ieurin's hero ; and from the 
p.articulars recorded of him, I conclude he is the same prince who is called 
Aurelius' AmbrosiitSt Gwrawl EmrySf or hero of the ambrosial stones. 

+ That is, the retinue of Hengi^t, who privately wotp theit &a»e» ct 


J They had foughf thus, ip the ^yars of Vortimet. 

$ Whether this apostrophe is to be understood, as coming from the Bard 
hitnsielf, .or from some more warlike phief; its ebje^t is to r^proacli th$ Saxons 
^r thpir treacherous somlpination wit|i thi Picti, 


hero bad disallowed the endowment of the fother-in-Iaw* — 
Such was the son of Cian, from the stone of Gwyngwn. 

The heroes went to Cattraeth with the dawn. They were 
afflicted in time of peace, by those who had dreaded 

' A hundred thousand + were the adversaries of ^hree hun- 
dred, who uttered the groan of woe, stained with their own 
blood, when he,§ the most terrible, mknfuUy stood up, be- 
fore the retinue of the most courteous mountain chief. |j 

The heroes went to Cattraeth with the dawn. Re- 
spected is their memory amongst their connexions. They 
drank the yellow, delicious, and potent mead, in that 
year, when many a Bard fell to the ground.f Redder than 
purple were the blades of the foe; their white-sheathed 
piercers, and .their four-pointed helmets, before the retinue 
of the most courteous mountain chief. 

The heroes went to Cattraeth with the day. (Was there 
not a 'disparagement of battles!) They had made, indeed. 

• This endowment was the kingdom of Kent, which Vorligern formally be- 
stowed upon Hengist, his faxhtr-in-iuw, when he married Kowena. 

+ They were massacred at an ostensively peaceful meeting, by the united 
plot of Uengist and Vortigern, to whom they had been equally formidable. 

% An exaggerated number, implying the whole combined party of Vortigerrt 
and Hengist. 

§ Hengist, who arose to give the signal of death. 

II The retinue of Vorligern, who was Lord of North Wales, a mountainous 
region — his great courtesii for the Saxons was a subject of indignation to the 

t[ After the execution of Hengist's plot, the Bards defended the temple 
against the Saxons, where many of them must have fallen. 


a mighty carnage.* Effectually had the gem of Christi- 
anity wielded his protecting blade. This is most meet, 
before men have engaged in friendly compact., However 
great the bloody destruction which they had occasioned, 
when the day was decided before the army of Gododin, 
was it not done under the conduct of the magnanimous 
leader ! 

To the hero who went to Cattraeth with the day, or 
drank the white mead, in, the celebration of May eve,-\' dis- 
mal was the pi'econcerted signal of the associated chief, 
which he had given in secret charge, through the excess of 
soaring ambition. 



In this Song, and the next, follozeing, the Bhrd still dwelling 
upon the Subject of the calamitous Feast, intermixes some 
Particulars of the Bravery and Fate of a Chief whom he 
calls Tudvwlch, which implies a Breach in the Land. 
By this singular Epithet, he seems to' describe the Prince, 
whose Territories Vortigern had seized, and bestowed upon 

To Cattraeth, there hastened not a hero, whose standard 

• That is, in the wars of Vortimer, to which the Bard allu'des, in the con- 
clusion of the paragrapli. 

+ Meinoehi/dd— This was the anniversary of the grCat mysteries of the 
Britons, as we have already seen in Hanes Taliesin. And it was the season 
Appointed by Vortigern and Hengist for the solemn meeting. Warrington, 
p. 57. 


had dispkyed such magnificence of enterprize ; not has the 
circle of Eidin (the living one) prodilced a scatterer of the 
ravagers^ equally great with the lofty Tttdvwkh, who being 
deprived of his lands and towns, had slaughtered the Saxons 
for seven days. His valour ought to have protected liim 
in freedom. Dear is. his memory amongst his illustrious 

When Tudvwlch, the supporter of the land, came to the 
feast, the area of the son of harmony* was made a plain of 

blood. ' 



The heroes went to Cattraeth with the daWn. — Ah ! none 
of them had the proteetion of shields -f- — When they had 
hastened to the Cra2,;j; assembled in gleaming arms, loud 
as the tumult of thunder, was the din of their shields. 

The ambitious man, the fickle man, and the base man — 
he would tear them with "his pikes and halberds. — Standing 
upon higher ground, he would gash them with his blades,- 
but. to the grief of the steel-clad commander, the water- 
dwellers were subdued by the proprietor of the land. Before 
Ertbai, the warrior groaned. 

• Mat Eihgdli — ^This was the area of the Bards, or the Cursus, in front of 
theit great temple, which was the scene of the massacre. 

+ Of these they were disarmed by the stratagem of Ilengist. 

i This probably means the bloody battle of Cray ford, in which those heroes, 
under the -conduct of Vortimer, had fought w,ith Hengist, four or five years 
before the massacre. In that engagement, botii parties seem to have claimed 
the victory.— See Gibson's Camden, Col. 224. Sammes, p. 390, 




i'ortigern is here implicated in the Guilt and Disgrace of 
the Massacre. 

Of the mixed assembly of Cattraeth, when the tale is 
told, the natives are afflicted. — Long has their sorrow con- 
tinued ! There was a dominion without a sovereign, and a 
smoaking land.* Yet the sons of Godebawg, -j- an iniqui- 
tous tribe, would bbstinately support the secret inviter of 
the great slaughterer. Dismal was the fate of dire necessitj', 
which was decreed for Tudvwlch, and the lofty Cy vwlch. 

Together they drank the transparent mead, by the light 
of torches : though it was pleasant to the laste, it pro- 
duced a lasting abhorrence. 

He+ had previously stationed above Caer Echinig, 

* This alludes to the drondful ravages committed by HengUt, after the 
massacre. — isee Warrington, p. 60. , 

t The princrly descendants of Coel Godebawg supported the cause of 
yottigerii, who bad invited Heogist into Britain. 

% That is Vortigern, " the Inviter of llie great slaughterer." It appears from 
this, 'and other passages, that Vortigcrn was privy to the design of massacre, 
which he had encouraged, in order to get rid- of those counsellors and heroes 
who had supported the cause of his son Vortinier, and might still be suspected 
of an intention to elect another sovereign. It is probable, however, that the 
British King was not aware of Hengist's design to seize his person, and ex- 
tort from him a large portion of his dominii.nsi aa the price of liberty. 


the youthful heroes of a chief, who was in his retinue. He 
had previously ordered a horn to be filled on the Bludwe, 
that he might pledge the water-dweller. He had directed 
that the beverage should consist of mead and beer 
(Bragawd). He had previously ordered the display of 
gold and rich purple. He. had given orders for pampered 
steeds, which might carry him safe away, whilst Gwarthlev 
and Enovryd were pouring forth the liquor. Previous to 
this, the benefactor whom the ebbing tide had left us,* gave 
out his private signal — a command which concerned, those, 
who had been loath to retreat. 



This little Song, which seems to want the Conclusion, is un- 
connected zeith the preceding Subject. It appears evidently, 
to be an Elegy upon the Death of the victorious Vortimer, 
zoho had driven the Saxons out of the Country, and was 
afterwards poisoned in the Court of Vortigem, by the 
Contrivance of Rozoena, the Daughter of Hengist. 

And now the lofty leader, the sun, is about to ascend :•]■ 
the sovereign most glorious, the Lord of the British Isle. 

• That is Hengist, who, by hastening the execution of his plot, prevented 
the meditated retreat of Vortigem. 

+ This, I conceive, is not to be iinderstood literally, as a hymn to the sun — 
the Bard is only comparing Voriimer to the sun, whom the mystical Bards 
acknowledged as a divinity. 

For Niv, heaven, I read NiV( a Lord. 


Direful was the flight, before the shaking of his shield, 
hastening to victory. 

iBut there was an unkind cup in the court of Eiddin:* 

with ostentatious courtesy, the hero was invited to taste the 

generous liquor. The beverage of wine he drank in the 

festival of the reaping. Though the wine which he quafied 

-■was transparent, it had assumed the form of deadly poison. 

We have a slaughtering harvest — the slaughter of the 
illustrious chief. We raised the song of deaths— the death 
of the armed hero — the death of the winged one, whose 
shield had not been withheld from the spears of battle."]- 
The pre-occupiers fell in the dreadful conflict. Determined 
was his signal of attack, and decisive the orders whichJie 
issued. Without disparagement, he retaUated upon the 
foe, before the green sod covered the. grave of the great and 
blessed hero. 

• EUMn, he who extorts property or possession— an epithet applieiJ to the 
ttturper Vortigern, in whose court vortimer received a poisoned cup, by the 
contrivance of lElowena, 

+ The Bard alludes to the actions of Vortiaier, previous to his fall,. 



" TEITHl AMGANT." — p. 4. 

In this Place, there is a Chasm in the Original. Its Extent 
is not known. The following Enumeration npmt be referred 
to the Middle of the fifth Century, when the Saxons served 
as mercenary Troops under Vortigern, 

The complement of the borders were three moving 
bands — five battalions of five hundred men each — three 
levies of three hundred each — three hundred warlike knights 
of Eiddyn,* arrayed in gilded armour — three loricated 
bands, with three commanders, wearing gold chains — three 
adventurous knights, with three hundred of equal quality. 
These three bands, of the same order, were mutually jea- 
lous in their bitter and impetuous assaults on the foe — they 
were • equally dreadfiil in the conflict : they would strike a 
lion flat as lead. Gold had collected all these for warfare.-j- 

There came also three princes of the land, who were na- 
tive Britons — Cinric and Cenon, of the stock of Aeron,:t 
to oppose the ashen spears of the men who dropped into 

* Vortigern, as above. It appears (Jiat this bloody usurper, who owed his 
elevation to the murder of his lawful sovereign, and the violence of a party, 
■was diffident of the native Britons, and kept a body-guard of three- hundred 
Saxon horse. 

+ It seems by this paragraph, that the Saxon .mercenaries of Vortigern 
8.niounted to about 5U00. 

:f A'iron, the Splendid one, or the Queen of Brightness ; a name of one of tl« 
great lainiuaries, venerated by the superstitious Uritous, 


Deira.* And there came from amongst the Britons, a mart 
\vho was better than Cenon— »even he who proved a serpent 
to the sullen foes, -j- 


" YVEIS Y wiN A MED. p. 4. 

*rhe Bard resumes the Subject of the disastrous Feast. 

I DRANK of the wine and the mead of the water-dweller, 
with the huge amber beads. J In the assembly of social 
men, it was his glory to make food for eagles. When he 
hastened to roiise at once his fell associates — before he gave 
the signal i at the early dawn, he left the shields || of split 
wood at a distance — short- tearing weapons^ (he knew) 
Would cut their way. 

Before the assault, the points of sprigs had been broken** 

z 2 

• That is, the Picts. 

t The third and principal hero, who is. desciibed, and not named, was pro- 
bably Eldiol, the liard's peculiar favourite. ° 

i Hengist, with his wreath of amber round his temples. — See song 2. 

§ " Now, with your seaxesl" — The signal which Hengist had pteviqusly 
agreed upon with his assassins. 

II This particular of the plot has been already noticed. 

5 The SCO* had a sharp edge on one side ; but the other side was frequently 
cut into teeth, like a saw. Sammes, p. 413. 

•* The breaking of sprigs, so frequently mentioned by the Bards, describes 
lire practice of sortilege. It seems, from this passage, that the diviner^ either 
from his lots, or private conjeeture, had conceived some presentiiiient of the 



by the son of Semno, the Diviner, who knew that he wha 
Lad sold his hfe would cut with shai-p blades. He should 
have declared this openly, then he would have been slain 
with pointed weapons. 

Notwithstanding his friendly covenant,* he was medi- 
tating a convenient attack. He had boasted of the carcasses 
of hrave and powerful men, whom he would pierce in the 
presence of Gwt/nedd.-f 

" I drank of the wine and the mead of the water-dweller, 
" and because I had drunk, I made a stroke with a small 

" piercing blade." J " It was not thy excess of drinking 

" which emboldened the fell chief: wJien every one made a 
" stroke, thou didst the same. But when the issue comes, 
" it would have been well for thee not to have offended : the 
" present rewarder of your deed| has displaced a mighty 
" and dreadful arm." 

* Hengist's proposal of a friendly meeting, for the ostensible purpose Of set- 
tling all disputes. 

+ That is, Vortigent, Lord of Giiiyntdil, or North Wales. Golyddan, a 
Bard of the seventh century, emphatically styles him Gvirtheym Gwynedd.^ 
W. Archaiol, p. 156. 

:f This is the apology of a Saxon individual, for his atrocious conduct at the 
feast : to which tlie indignant Briton replies — " It was not thy excess," &c. 

§ Eidipl, or Ambrosius, who retaliated upon the Saxons by the death of 




The Bard, pursuing his Subject, openly charges Vortigern as 
an Accomplice in Hengist's Plot. 

The heroes who went to Cattraeth were renowned. Wine 
and mead, from golden cups, was their liquor in the year 
when we accepted of the dignified man who had been set 
aside.* Three, and three score, and three hundred were 
they, wearing gold chains.f Of those who hastened to the 
excess of liquor, three only escaped from the confident 
stabbing ; namely, the two war dogs of Aeron, and our 
destined governor, ;{: and myself, through my streams of 
blood — the reward of my candid song. 

O my friend ! O thou who truly condolest with me ! We 
should not h^ve been beaten, but for the instigation of the 
sovereign, who was twice elevated. § We should not have 
been singled out in the court of the mead feast. It was he 

* Blwyddyn yu erbyn urddyn deawd— 
The ye?ar when Vortigern, who had beeji deposed for his attachment to the 
Saxons, was re-elected to the sovereignty, after the death of Vortimer. 

+ " Above three hundred of the British nobility, the most eminent for their 
" talent's in the council, or in the field, perished in this bloody carousal." 

Warrington, p. 59, with his numerous authorities. 

i Eidiol, or Ambrosius. — It is clear to me, that under these two names, we 
are to contemplate bat one historical character. Ambrosius liad, therefore, 
already returned from Armorica, either duriug the reign of Vortimer, or upoa 
the faith of this friendly meeting. As this prince was a pecuKar object of Vor- 
tigern's jealousy, his flattering appointment, as governor of the feast, may 
have been made for the purpose of securing his attendance amongst the des- 
tined victims. 

^ Vortigern, who had been deposed, and re-elected by his faction. The 
Bard openly charges this infataated prince with the odium of the massacres 


who made the proscription, in behalf of his convenient 
friend. Base is he in the field, ^ho is base to his own rela- 
tives.* The man of Gododin reports, that after the gash" 
ing assault^ there was none found more ardent thap Llywy.'j' 


" ARF AGCYNNULL." p. 4. 

This little Dirge may he supposed to have been cfiaunted over 
the obtruncated Body of Hengist, when he was taken at 
the Battle of Caer Conan,% and beheaded by the Com-' 
piand of Eidiol, or Ambrosius, the Prince who succeeded. 
Vortigern as King of fhe Britons, 

He who now supports no arm, who presents a lacerated 
form, deprived of motion, has with energy pervaded the 
land, through the great multitude of the Loegrian tribes. 

His shields were extended on the sea coast — his shields, 
in the battle of pikes. He caused a destruction of men, 
and multiplied widowed matrons before his death.- O vehe- 
ment son of Hoewgi,| with thy spears didst thou ipak^ an 
effusion of blood ! 

• Vqrtigerfi had m^dp Jiis way to the throne by the btse murder of his ccitsin 
Goostan?. — ^Warrington, p. S% This paragraph records a more shocking 
ipstauce of his basme^Sf 

I The British Prpserpine — here ^he represents the whole community of 
B^rds^her votaries. . See song 25, 

If Sec Gibson's Camden Col. 847. Warrington and his authorities, p. 64> 

J Hengist's father, l>y thp Saxons CE^led Wet^isse, 



" AEWR Y DWY VSGWYD." — p. 5- 

TMs Song refers to the Actions of Eidiol,* or Amhrosius, 
subsequent to the Massacre of the British Nobles. 

The hero of tlie two shields — winged is his variegated 
van. 'It is like the velocity of warlike steeds. In Aervre 
(the mount of slaughter) there was a din — there was fire ! 
Impetuous were his spears, as the rays of the blazing sun. 
There was food for ravens — there did the raven triumph ! 

And before the foe was left at large by the eagle's allurer, 
who delighted in the course, there was scattering on his 
flanks, and in his front the overwhelming billow ! The Bard^ 
of the land will judge respecting men of valour. 

His counsels were not divulged to slaves, 

• The English historians, the Triads, and the chronicles of Tysilio and Geof- 
frj of Monmouth, reprpseiit this prince as having singly attacked the Saxons, 
and sISin an incredible number of them with a pole. 

The poems of Aneurin apd Cuhelja reconcile the report of his action; with 
probability. Having sonje suspicion of treachery, he takes his station a> 
governor of the feast, and consequently is not involved in the ranks, Upon 
the first assault, he extends his shaft between the adverse parties, and gives 
the alarm to the numerous disciples' of the Bards, who were celebrating the 
festivity of May-day, and to the populaccr whom the solemnity had convened. 
Some of this multitude parry off the Saxons with the long poles which were 
used in the procession, whilst others set fire to the temporary buildings about 
the Cursus, and seize the arms which had been there deposited. 

It was Hengist's plan, immediately after the massacre, to burst into the tem- 
ple, and plunder its treasures: but his Saxons, being half intoxicated, and 
only armed with their corslets and short daggers, were thrown into confusioii by 
this subitaneous host of Britons, and by the surrounding flames ; so that after 
some loss, they were compelled to retreat, and, for the. present, to postpone the 
fOmpletioij of their design. 


Devourers were his spears in the hands of heroes. And, 
before the deed of the lurkers'covered him in the grave,* he 
was a man who had enei'gy in his commands. Buddvan 
(the horn of victory), the son of the bold Bleiddvan (lofty 
wolr), washed his armour with gore. 

Injurious, mOst injurious vvotiH it be, to neglect the me- 
morial of him, who left not an open gap for cowardice : 
whose court was not deserted by the beneficent Bards of 
Britain, upon the calends of January. It was his resolu- 
tion, that strangers should not plow his land, though it lay 
waste. Indignantly did he resent the stratagem of the great 
Dragon,f who was a leader in the field of blood, after the 
fatal wine had been quaifed by Gwenabwy-J (the fair corpse), 
the son of the Lady — the warrior of Galltraeth.^ , 

* Or, before he was buried, after those who laid » plot for his life, had 
accomplished their design. This obscure sentence alludes to the mnnner oV 
Ambiosius' death. Eppa, a Saxon physician, treacherously poisoned him, by 
the instigation of Vaictia, the son of Vortigern. 

See Warrington, and liis authorities, p. 65, &6. 

+ Hengist, who slaughtered the British nobles, and wasted the country, after 
the death of Vortimer, who had fought at Galltraeth. 

i Vortimer, who was made a corpse, or poisoned, by the contrivance of bit 
step-mother, Rowena. 

§ Galltraeth', the Gallic strand, or shore of the Gallic sea. The B^d de- 
ecribes the battle of Galltraeth, song 34, and ascribes the massacre to the 
resentment of the Saxons, for the victory which the Britons had obtained in 
that engagement, Hruce it appears, that this was Vortimer's victory, recorded 
by Nennius, Ad Lapidem Tituli, supra ripam Gallicl maris, where the Saxons 
were entirely beaten off British ground, and compelled to fly to their ships., 
Gibson's Camden Col. 243. 

Lkch Titleu,' or Lapit Tituli, is substituted for Galltraeth in another passage- 
of the Go(}odin. 




This Song describes the Conduct of Eidiol at the Instant of 
the Massacre, and furnishes some Hints of his subsequent 

True it was, as the songs* report. Jfo steeds overtook 
Marchleu-)-. (the splendid knight). The governor extended 
his spear, before the swordsman, J in his thick strewed 
path. Being educated amongst the sacred mounts, he sup- 
ported his mystic mother : and severe was the stroke of his 
protecting blade. A spear, of quartered ash, did he ex- 
tend from his hand, over the stone cell of the sa- 
cred FiRE,§ whilst the corn-stacks were made to puff out 
with smoke, by those who had cut with the blade armfuls 
of furze. II Theii, as when a reaping corties in doubtful 
weather, did the splendid knight cause the blood to flow. 

From the Southern regions did he send Issac,^ whose 

* The B^ard quotes the authority of songs which had been composed upon the 
occasion. ^ 

+ WarchUu. and the governor, refer to Eidiol : for the action described, ij 
that which is expressly and exclusively ascribed to that hero. 

J The Saxon. 

$ These are important hints upon the subject of the Bardic temple. 

II In subsequent passages, the Bard expressly describes Eidiol as iavolviug 
the Saxons in flames. 

H A corrupt orthography for ^sea — " The British prince (Ambrosius) then 
" laid siege to the city of York, in which place Ocla, the son of Hengist, and 
" Esca, his brother, had taken refuge ; but these chiefs were soon obliged to 
" surrender, upon condition that they and the Saxon soldiers should retire 
" into the country^ near Scotland, "o-Warrington, p. 64. 


conduct had been like the inconstant sea: he wasftiUof 
modesty and gentleness, whilst he regaled himself with 
mead ; but he would possess a territory, from the rampart 
of Ofer, to the point of Madden — then the savage was 
glutted with carnage, the scatterer with desolation. On 
the heads of mothers did his sword resound ! 

Our hero was. a Murgreid (mighty spirit) — praise be to 
him, the son of Gwyddneu ! * 



We are here presented with a- striking Conttast, in the Cha- 
racters of two Heroes, who fell at the fatal Feast. The 
former was, probably, Caredig, the Son'of Cunedda, who 
possessed a District in Cardiganshire, which, from him, 
was called Caredigiawn, whence the English name of the 
County. The second seems to have been Caradog with the 
brawny Arm, a celebrated Cornish Prince of the fifth 

CAEEDi(ii — lovely is his fame ! He protects and guards 
his appointed spot. Calm is he, and gentle, before he 
comes into the field. Does he give battle ! He is brave 
with discretion. The friend of harmonious song — may he 
arrive in the celestial region, and recognise his home ! 

* The Hydrams of the British mysteries.— See the third section of this 
Essay. Eidiol, or Ambrosius, was his mystical son, or an adept in the Batdi? 
mjsteries. ' 


Caredig, the amiable chief, leading in the tumultuous 
battle, with his golden shield, he marshalled his camp. 
Lances are darted and shivered into splinters, and pene- 
trating is the stroke of the unrelenting sword. Like a 
hero, he still maintains his post. Before he was laid on the 
earth — before the afflictive shock, he had fulfilled hi* duty 
in guarding his station. May he find a complete reception 
with the Trinity, in perfect unity ! * 

When Caradoc rushed into battle, like a wild boar, he 
cut his way, and burst forward. In the mangling fight, 
he was the bull of the host. Tire wild dogs were allured 
by the motion of his hand. For this, I have the testimony 
of Ewein, the son of Eulat, and Gurien, and Gwyn, and 
Guriat. But though, from Galltraeth, from the mangling 
fight, and from Bryn Hydwn, he returned safe,f yet after 
the clear mead was put into his hand> the hero saw his fathe? 
1^0 more. 



The Bard commemorates several of the Nobles who had been 
slain at the Feast, and celebrates the Heroism which they 
had displayed in the IBattle of Galltraeth. 

The heroes who hastened to the feast, had moved forth 

• From this single passage, it appears that, amongst all his heathenish my- 
' tl)olpgy» the Bard acknowledged some genuine tenets of Christianity. 

+ He had returned in s^ety from the wars of Vortinjerj but he did uot 
psc^pe ffon) the fatal banijuet. 


Wflanimously, even the short-lived heroes who were intoxi- 
cated over the clarified mead, the retinue of the mountain 
chief— men who had been illustrious in the hour of trial. 

As the price of their mead in the banquet, their lives 
Were paid by Caradoc and Madoc, Pyll and leuan, Peredur 
with steel arms, Gwawrddur and Aeddan, who had escaped 
from the tumultuous fight with a broken shield. Though 
they had slain the foe, they also were slain : none of them 
returned to their peaceful home. 

The heroes who hastened to the feast, were entertained 
together on that year,* over the mead of the great de- 
signers.f Those deplorable wretches! how doleful their com- 
memoration! the bane of the land to which they had 
returned ! j By motheis they were not nursed ! How lasting 
the resentment and the grief they occasioned ! After men 
had acted bravely — at the moment when they were regaling 
with mead, the dank floor of Gododin § receives our vigo- 
rous heroes. This was occasioned by the choice liquor of 
the mountain chief, and the resentment of the victory 
which they had purchased at Galltraeth.|| 

These men had gone to Galltraeth to battle, as heroes. 

• The year of Vortigern's re-elevation to the sovereignty. See before. 
+ Vortigern and the Saxons. 

t The Saxons had been utterly e!:pelled by Vortimer ; and again, they re- 
turned to Britain upon the restoration of Vortigern. 

' \ Here Gododin is evidently a name of the great sanctuary, where the mas-- 
sacre was perpetrated. 

' H Vortimer's last victory, snpra ripam Gallici maris, was the great occasion 
of Hengist's resentment. The Bard now proceeds to describe the bravery 
which his heroes had displayed in that decisive' actimi. ' 


with thp force of warlike steeds, and red armour and shields> 
and uplifted spears, and shjarp lances, and glittering mail, 
and swords. — They had excelled — they had penetrated 
through the host^-^before their hlades five battalions had 
fallen. The lofty Rhuvawn* had given gold to the. altar; 
and to the Bard, munificent, honorary rewards. 



The Bard speaks of the great Temple, in the Precincts of 
which the fatal Banquet was celebrated. He recites the 
heroic Acts of Eidiol, or Ambrosius, who is described bi( 
a Variety of Epithets ; and touches upon gorne Particulars 
of the Retaliation of the Britons, at the Battle of Maes 

A STKrcTUKEf was not formed so eminently perfect, 
so great, so magnificent, for the conflict of swords. 

In the place where Morien merited the sacred fire, it 
cannot be denied that corpses were seen, by the wearer 
of scaly mail, j who was harnessed, and armed with a 

• Jlhuvawn, the same as Elphin, the Solar Divinity, or his priest. 

+ The account of the great temple, in this song, deserves the attention of 
the antiquary. In the passage before us, we are told that it was not made far 
strife — being the sanctuary of the pacific Bards and Druids. — Here, also, was-' 
the cell af the sacred fire, mentioned in a preceding paragraph. 

^ Hengist, who began his outrage, by killing the Bard. 


piei'cing weapon, but covered' with the skin of a beast. 
His sword resounded upon the head of the chief singer of 
NoE and Eseye,* at the great stone fence of their com" 
mon sanctuary. —^^e\er more did the child of Teithan 

This hall would not have been made so impregnable, had 
not Morienf been equal to Caradoc. He did not retreat 
with sorrow towards Mynawc.J — Enraged is he, and fiercei' 
than.the son of Bedrawc.§ Fell is the hand of the knight i 
in flames he involves the retreating foe. 

Terrible is the shout of the city,l| to the timid train, who 
wf re scattered before the army of Gododin. From the in- 
closure of fire, precipitately they fled; In the day of their 
wrath, they became nimble. They shrunk from their pur- 

* Mr. Bryant has demonstrated, that Saturn and Rhea, Osiris and Isis, &c. 
implied the patriarch Noah, and the GenitiS of the Ark : with these, I have 
identified the DiDi/van and JDwyvach; Hu and Kid; Tegid and Ceridaen, &c. 
of the Britons, 

ti'iie is liere introduced hy his proper name ; but I do not infer from bencea 
that this name had been preserved by tlie Pagan Britons. The sacred writings 
were known in the days of Aneurin : and that Bard, or some one before him, had 
sufficient discernment to perceive, that his H«, Tegid, or Dwyvan, was origin- , 
ally the same person as the N'oe of Scripture history. 

Eseye was certainly the same character as Isisi and Teithan must be iden-> 
tified with .the Greek Titan, or the Sun, who is called Titin, in the Hibetno- 
Celtic. The Bard, as usual, connects his Arkite superstition wilhSabian idolatry. 

+ A name of the same deified person, but transferred to his priest, Eidiol, 
as it is evident from the action ascribed to him. 

$ The sovereign— yorfigern, who is elsewhere styled Mynawe M'don, so* 
rereign of the natives. 

5 Bedwyr, the son of Bedrawc, a fabnlous hero. 

II The community of Bardsj who probably resided iu booths, withiD the 

ouiward vailum of the temple. 


pose*. Did they merit their horns of mead — the slaves of 
the mountain chief !-|- 

No hall was made so immoveable as this. As for CynonJ 
of the gentle breast, the governor of the feast, he sat not 
inactive upon his throne. Those whom he pierced were not 
pierced again. Keen was the point of his lance. Through ' 
the painted corslet did the warrior penetrate. Before his 
resentment, fleet were the hostile steeds. In the day of 
wrath, the indignant stroke was returned by the blade of 
Cynon, when he rushed forth with the early dawn. 

Heavy was the stroke which had fallen in the first as* 
sault;§ but he|| who administered the liquor, put an end to 
their outrage. Effectual was his valour, in behalf of 
Elphin.^ His spear pushes the chiefs, who had made war 
in their merriment.- — The pinnacle of renown is the radiant 
bull of battle!** 

Heavy was the stroke which had fallen in the first as- 
sault, as a reward for the mead and wine, which were given 

* That is, their design of plnnderiag the temple, which appears, upon this 
sccasioD, to have been richly furnished and decorated. 

+ The Saxons, who had been the mercenaries and the body guard of Vorti- 
gern, lord of the mountainous VcTiedntia. Golyddan calls them Cychmyn 
Gwrtheyrn Gwynedd, the boatmen of Vortigern of Gwynedd. 

J " The Prince" — his office and his actiob prove, that the title miist here 
be referred to Eidiol. 

§ The sudden attack of Hengist's assassins. 

II Eidiol, the governor of the feast. 

5J The mystical son of Gwyddnaw — the Solar Divinity. — See Section Si 

** Throughput/the Gododin, this singular title implies Eidiol, or Ambrosius, 
as the priest and representative of Hu, Noe, or Beli, of wliojii the bull was the 
£ivourite symbol. 


in the court ; but boldly did hi s weapon interpose between 
the two ranks. The pinnacle of renown is the radiant bull 
of battle. 

Those who made the heavy stroke for the fair treasures, 
had their host turned aside with trailing shields — those 
shields, which were shivered before the herds of the roaring 

From the bloody field, the monster hastens within the 
fence.-|- To us, a grey-headed man arrives — his chief 
counsellor — with the picture of the prancing steed, bearing 
a sacred message from the chief with the golden chain — 
the boar, who had made a compact in the front of the 
course — the great plotter. 

How just was the shout of refusal, which burst forth! 

• This paragraph alludes to the battle of Maes Beli, near Caer Conan, in 
Yorkshire, where Ambrosius (Eidiol) routed Hengist and his Saxons, in the 
year 481, and put them to a disorderly flight. — See Gibson's Camden, Col, 
847 — Warrington, p. 63. 

JVs the Bard denominates the leader a hull of battle, so his forces vreie the 
herds of the roaring Beli. This last name, though conferred upon several 
princes, was properly a title of the Solar Divinity, whose sanctuary the Saxons 
had profaned. Prom this victory obtained by his votaries, the field of battle 
may have acquired the name of Maes Beli, ihe field of Beli. 

+ That is, within the fortress of Caer Conan, which the Bard describes in 
a subsequent passage, as situated upon the high lands of the Done. 

" The Done rims within view of Connisborow, an old castle, called in British, 
■" Caer Conan, and situated upon a rock ; whither (at the battle of Maisbelly, 
" when Aurelius Ambrosius routed the Saxons, and put them to a disorderly 
" flight) Hengist, their general, retired, to secure himself ; and a few days 
" after, took the field against the Britons, who pursued him, and with whom he 
" engaged a second time, which proved fatal, both to himself and his army. 
" For the Britons cut off many of them, and taking him prisoner, beheaded 
" him." — Camden. Ibid. 

It appears by this paragraph of Aneurin, that previous to the last desperate 
engagement, Hengist had sent to the British commander a flag of truce, bear- 
ing his own arms j which Consisted of a white prancing horse, upon a red field. 

Verstegan, p. 131. 


Again, we are conjared by heaven, that he might be re- 
ceived into protection. 

" Let him enjoy the kindness which he displayed in his 
" stabbing assault! The warriors,; since the time of his fa- 
" mous plot, have fought with one design --thait his host 
" might press the ground !" 



The Death of the Bard at the Feast-y-the Resentment and. 
Revenge of Eidiol and the Britons. 

Foe the piercing of the skilful and most learned man ; 
for the fair corpse which fell upon the sod ; for the cutting 
of his hair from his head ; round the sethereal (temple)* 
of the eagle of Gwydien,^ G wyddhwchj turned his protect- 
ing spear — the image of the master whom he adoTed. 

A A 

• Atnyr, the slcy, in this passage, and Wyhr, which has the same import, in 
the works of Taliesin, seems to imply a building, which, like Stonebenge, and 
other British temples, is open t» the shy. Thus Taliesin — " A holy sanctuary 
" there is on the wide lake, a city not protected with walls, the sea surrounds 
'■ it. Demandest thou, O Britain, to what this can be meetly applied ! Before 
" tke lake of the son of Erbin , let thy ox be stationed — there, where there has 
" been a retinue, and in the second place, a procession, and in eagle aloft in 
" the sky, and the path of- Granwyn" (Apollo). Append. No. 2. 

So again ; he mentions the Druid of Wybr Geirivnydd, the ethereal (tem-, 
pie) 0^ Geirwnydd. — Append. No. 12. 

+ The same as Gwydion, the Hermes of the Britons. 

t The«iiid boar — anepitliet Applied to EidioU 


Morien* defended the blessed sanctuary — the basis, and 
chief place of distribution of the source of energy, of the 
most powerful, and the most ancient.f — She is transpierced ! 
Though Bradwen J (the treacherous dame) was a damsel, 
she fell— the just expiation for Gwenabwy (the fair corpse) 
the son of Gvven (the lady). 

For the piercing of the skilful, most learned iflan, the 
minister § bore a shield in the action. With energy, his 
sword descends on the pate. In Loegria, his stern ones 
cut their way before the prince. He _ who handles the 
wolf's neck, without a cudgel in his hand, will have a rent 
in his garment. . .. , . 

In the conflict of wrath and resentment, the treacherous 
lady perished — she did not escape. 

• A title of the god, and hence of his priest — as hefore. 

-f- 1 must leave it to the antiquaries, to ascertain tliese di^iinitieSi, b; theii; 

J Kowona, who poisoned Vortimer, her step-son — :thence called, the fair 
corpse, the son of the lady. 

$ Eidiol, who, though he seems to have been a much belter Druid thiR 
Christian, held the rank of bishop, iq the apostate church of the Britons. 



" KUR AR VUR CAER." — p. 7. 

This Part of the Gododin is badly preserved. The various 
Readings exceed the Number of Lines ; yet they are insuf- 
ficient to make out the Measure or the Construction. The 
Passage seems, however, to record a Taunt upon the Con- 
duct of our Bard, in an Affair where he was vested with 
the Command. The following is the best Sense which I 
can pick out of the Heap of Fragments. 

The gold, without the city walls, was dissipated. The ar- 
dent warrior was calling — " Towards the city !" But ther^, 
a meek man was stationed, with his shouts, to keep aloof the 
wandering birds, 

Syll of Vireun reports, in addition, that from the circum- 
stance of the Llwy (river?) the army was led round the 
flood, so that, at the hour of dawn, the officers did not act 
in concert. — 

When thou, O toiler of panegyric, wast protecting the 
ear of corn on the height, (if ravagers may be deemed wor- 
thy of credit) there was free access to Din Drei : there 
was wealth for him who had courage to fetch it : there was 
a city for the army that should have resolution to enter. 

The Bard replies — 

Felicity is iiot claitaed where success has been wanting. 

AA 2 


Though there be a hundred men in one house — I know the 
cares iti which I am involved — the chief of the men mu8t 
defray the charge. • ■ 


" NYT WYF VYNAWC BXIN." — p. 7. 

The Bard, who is a Prisoner of War, alludes to tie preced- 
ing Sarcasm, and declares the Circnnistarices undei^ which 
his So?igs were composed. 

I AM not violent nor querimonious : I will not avenge my- 
self'on the petulant ; nor will I laugh in derision. This 
parti'ele* shall drop under foot, where my limbs are in- 
flamed, in the subterraneous house, by the iron chain^ which 
passes over my two knees. "^ 

' Yet, of the mead, and of the hlorn, and of the assembly 
6f Cattraeth, I, Aneurin, will sing, what is khown to 
Taliesin, who imparts to ■ me his thoughts : and thus, a 
sonnet of the Gododin is finished, before the dawn of day+. 

* 'this contemptible scoff. 

"'*"' i . ' ■ ' » '. • 

T From this passage, as well as from the general tenor of the work, it IR 

evident that the .Gododia was not undertaken as one single poem, with a re» 

gular and connected design. 




In the last Song, we found Aneurin amusing the tedious 
Nights of his Imprisonment, with the Compgsition of his 
Sonnets. But now he has, for some Time, been set at 
large by a Son of Llywarch.* ji considerable Interval 
must, therefore, have elapsed, since the Date of the pre- 
ceding Composition, 

The Bard begins with a Tribute of Gratitude to his Bene- 
factor ; and then passes, with some Address, to the Subject 
of the fatal Feast. He enumerates the Fields where the 
British Warriors had fought, under Vortimer; but the 
, Paragraph which confains this Catalogue is very imperfect, 
and the Sense is collected, with some Difficulty, out of a 
Mass of various Readings. The Song concludes with some 
Allusions to the Retaliation of the Britons in subsequent 

The chief renown of the North f has a hero acquired, 

* Generally supposed lo have been Llywarch Hin, the celebrated Bard. 
But here a difficulty presents itself. Llywarch is the reputed author of au 
Elegy upon the death of Cadwallon, the son of Cadvan, which happened . 
about the year 646 : and it is obvious, that the son of a man who was living in 
the year 640, could not have liberated Aneurin, who .had witnessed the ma^ 
sacre of 472. 

I think it probable, that Aneurin's friend was the son of Llywarch Hin ; but 
that Llywarch, who is known to have flourished in the beginning of the sixth 
century, could not have been the author of the Elegy in question. 

The piece was anonymous : but some old copyist thinking it worth preserving, 
transcribed it into abook which contained some of Llywarch's genuine works — 
hence it has passed under his name. 

f Our author was a Korthumbriaq Britoo^ and so was Llywarch H^n. 


of gentle disposition — a liberal Lord, who has not been 

Yet earth does not support, nor has mother borne, a war- 
rior so illustrious, when clad in steel. By the force of his 
bright sword, he protected me ; from the horrid, subterra- 
neous prison he brought me forth — from the inclosure of 
death, from a hostile region. Such is Ceneu, the son of 
Llywarch, energetic and bold. 

He would not have brooked the disparagement of a so- 
lemn Bardic meeting,* in the character of a Seneschal, 
with his vessels full of mead. For deeds of violence, he 
'Would have supplied swords ; he would have furnished wea- 
pons for war : but with his arm he would have supported his 

But before the band of Gododin and Bernicia,"f- booths 
for horses were prepared in the hall : there was streaming 
gore, and blood-stained armour, and the long knife :{: to 
thrust from the hand. And with speed were they distin- 
guished into tribes, whilst the Lady and her paramour § 
were stowing their parties, an armed man, and a man un- 
armed, by turns. II 

• Alluding to the " Gorsedd," or solemn Bardic assembly, ia which Hengist 
li^d p^rp^tr^ted his atrocigus d^ed. 

+ The Bard being a Northern Britoq, mentions hjs own countrymen wkh a 
patriotic distinction, though they h^d constituted only a part of the dcvoteij 

i The sear, with which Heugist's party wer« privately armed. 

% Bowena and Vortigern. 

|| The Saxons, wearing their corslets, and armed with the dagger^ the 
Britons totally unarmed. 

" By the contrivance of Hengist, they were placed with his train, alter- 
~" natel^, at the tables, under the pretence of confidence, aijd of a f5ien(ll» 
" intercourse with each other."— Wflrringlim, p. 59. 


These were not men who would stab and fly. They had 
been the generous defenders of every region — at TJech 
Leuca, at the stone of Titleu, at Leudvri, at Llech Levdir, 
at Gardith, at Tithragon, at Tegvare, in front of Gododin^ 
at Ystre Annan, at the course of Gododin, and at Ragno.* 
Close by his hand, was that hand which had directed the 
splendour of battle, the branch of Caerwys, though he had 
been shattered by a tempestuous season — a tempestuous 
season, which had favoured the ships of the alien host. 

To form a rank before th^ royal power, we were allured 
— it was to our ruin ! Deeply did they design — sharply did 
they pierce the whole of our assembly. 

But the chief of the projecting shield f has had his van 
broken, before the bull of battle, | whose enemies tremble 
in sorrow, since the battle of active tumult at the border of 
Ban Carw.| 

Round the border of Ban Carw, the freckled fingers K 
had broken the sprigs, to know who should be overwhelmed, 
who should conquer — to know who should be routed, who 
should triumph. 

• The scenes of Vortimer's battles, in which these heroes had distinguished 
themselves. The paragraph is greatly injured by time, and the present cata- 
logue is collected from the various readings, including those which are inserted 
in the text. W. Archaiol. p. 13, 

+ Hengist. 

j: Eidiol, or Ambrosias, as befor?; . 

^ Probably, the old name of Maes Beli, before it had obtained a new 
Resignation, from the victory of the £ritons. 

II Hengist, who is e'sewhpre called Vyvynawl Vrych, the freckled intruder, 
is here repiejEnted as consulting his lots upon the event of the approaohiDg 


** The native is roused— ^the invader is subdraed."* 

In Rhiwdrech, f he who is not bold, will fail of his pur- 
pose. Victory is not for him who dreads being overtaken. 

-^^•>^*- J, 


" NY MAT WANPWYT." — p. 8. 

^his little Dialogue may be supposed to have passed between 
Rowena and a'native Briton. It forcibly paints the FeeU 
ings of the Times^ 


Not meetly was the shield pierced iipon the side of the 
horse J — not meetly did the man of the grey stone pillars 
mount the lofty steed § — dark was his spear. 


It was dark : but darker, by far, is thy husband in the 
cell, II gnawing the jaw of a buck. 

■ « I .I I I. ■ ■ ■! in . 1 1 1 • n i I ■ ■ « 

• This sentence Contains the omen, collected from the lots. 

+ " The cliff of superiority, or prevalence." — ^This seems to be the name 
which the Britons gave to the scene of Hengist's last fatal action, near the rocfc 
of Caer Conan, where he was taken and beheaded. 

J The names of Hengist and Horsa equally imply a hone. One of tbese 
commanders had been slain, and the other beaten ; it is, therefore, uncertain 
which of them is here meant. 

§ Eidiol, the priest of the great temple, who is lepresented as seated upon 
bis steed, when he filled the office of Stneschal. 

\\ Vort^gern, who was confined by Hengist after the massacre, till he pu»- 
chased his liberty by the cession of part of bis dominions. 



ttope he enjoys it 


I hope he enjoys it — may he be supplied with a few 
iaws ! 

BRITON (indignantly). 

How happily did our Adonis come to his Venus! 

" Let the Lady of the sea (says he), let Bradwen only 
" come hither, and then (O Hengist!) thou mayest do — 
" -tholrmayest kill ; thou mayest burn — worse than Morien 
" thou canst not do."* 

But thou hast regarded neither moderation nor coun- 
sel, thou beheader,f with the haughty countenance! Thou, 
O Venedotian, didst not attend to' the great swelling sea 
of knights, who would give no accommodation to the 

• A sarcastic repetition of the language supposed to haye been addressed by 
Vortigern to Hengist, when he sued for the hand of Bowena. 

+ Vortigern, the Venedotian. " Gwrtheyrn Gwynedd," who had ascended 
the throne, by causing his cousin Constans to be beheaded in his bed ; ^nd 
afterwards, by overruling the voice of the British council, had invited the 
Saxons into Britain to support his tottering cause, and to oppose the Ficts, 
whose resentment be had provoked, by imputing to the guards of that nation 
^ liis own sacrilegious crime. . 



" GODODIN GOMYNAF." — p. 8. 

The Bard, observing the Calamities of his Country, reflects 
upon the Circumstance of the fatal Banquet, which had 
deprived the Britons of their best Supporters. 

GoDODiN ! upon thj' account, I deplore the dales beyond 
the ridge of Drum Essyd. A servant,* greedy of wealth, 
but void of shame, by the counsel of his son,-|- sets thy 
heroes on high. Not mean was the place appointed for 
confirence, before the perpetual fire.J From twilight to 
twilight, the sweet liquor is quaifed by the stranger, who 
glances at the purple.^ He kills the defenceless, but melo- 
dious minister || of the bulwark of battle — ^liis inseparable 
companion — whose voice was like that of Aneurin. 

At once^ arose the warriors of the chief — In Cattraetli— a 
noisy and' impetuous mob^to pay the reward of the mead 

in the court, and the beverage of wine. Between tlie 

two ranks a spear was extended by a dignified knight,** in 

* Hengist, who had been a mercenary captain, 

+ Vorligern, who had married the daughter of Hengist, and whom the Bard 
repeatedly stigmatises as the adviser of tiie plot. 

f Or the fire of Mcithin. We have frequent allusions to the cell of the 
sacred fire. 

§ Hengist, whose ambition aimed at the sovereignty of Britain. 

11 The Bard, Owen, whose fate is so often deplored. 

X Upon Hengist's signal, the Saxons made a sudden and general assault* 

•* Eidiol, who is styled the bull of batUe. 


defence of Gododin. The pinnacle of renown is the ra- 
diant bull of battle. 

At once arose the warriors of the associated King — strangers 
to the land — their deed shall be proclaimed. The stranger 
with the gorgeous robe, rolls down our heroes in^he place 
where the Elain (Bards) we're in full harmony.* Amongst 
the weapons of the freckled chief, "I- thou couldst not have 
seen the rod.;}: With the base, the worthy can have no 
concord. The sea rovers cannot defend their outrageous 
deed with their steel blades, ready to shed blood. 

At once arose the warriors of the associated King — stran- 
gers to the land — their deed shall be proclaimed. In close 
rank, with blades, there was slaughtering ; and the mah of 
carnage prevailed over the hero. 

The experienced warriors who had assembled, were all 
assaulted at once with An unanimous stroke. Short were 
their lives — long is the grief of their friends. Seven times 

their number of LiJegrians had they slain.§ From this 

conflict arose the screams of their wives, and many a mother 
has the tear upon her cheek. 

* The precincts bf the great Druidical temple. 

f Hengist, as befoife. 

i The pacific iusigne of the Batd — in song S5, it is called the ironcA. 

f In the wats of Vortiiqer. 




The Bard celebrates the Fame of the great Temple, and of 
Eidiol, who bravely defended ity after the outrageous As- 
sault of the Saxons. 

Never was a hall formed so complete — nor a lion so 
generous, in the presence of the lion of the greatest course,* 
as Cynon of the gentle breast, the most comely Lord. 

The fame of the cityf extends to the remotest parts — 
the established inclosure of the band of the harmonious 


And of all that I have seen, or shall see hereafter, une- 
qualled in his conduct, is the brandisher of arms. Most 
heroic in -energy, with the sharpest blade, he slew the ra- 
vagers. Like rushes they fell before his hand. O son of 
Clydnaw, § of the lasting fame, to thee will, I sing a song 
of praise, without boundary, without end ! 

If in the banquet of mead and wine, thei/^ sacrificed to 

• The sun. — Eidiol, or Cynon (the prince), the chief priest of the temple, is 
also styled a Uan. 

+ The temple, "surrounded by a vallum, which included the dwellings of the 

J Victory, — This seems to be a title of Kid, or Ceridvien, the British Ceres. 

*§ 'I Ship-bearer"— he who carried the sacred ark in ths British mysteries. 

B The Saxons. "■ 


shmghtev the mother of spaliatiom, ihe energetic Eidiol* 
aiso honoured her before the mount, in the presence of 
the god of victory, the King who rises in light, and as- 
cends the sky. 

Whilst the assembled train were accumulating,, like a 
darkening swarm, around him, without the semblance of a 
retreat, his exerted wisdom planned a defence* agaiflast the 
paUid outcasts, with their sharp-pointed weaponis. 

Before the vigilant son of harmony they fled^ upon the* 
awaking of the mother of Rheiddinf (the Radiant), leader 
of the din. 



On the calamitous Consequences of the fatal Banquet. 

From the drinking of wine and mead, to strife proceeded 
the mail-clad warriors. J No tale of slaughter have I 
known, which records so complete a destruction, as that of 
the assembly, who had confidently met before Cattraetb. 

* The interposing hnight, to wliotn the Barfl so often alludes. This is the first 
time that his name is introduced ; but his character is easily distinguished by 
the identity of the action ascribed to him. 

t Apollo, or the sun — by his mother, I think ^e Bard means Aurora, the 
davm !- he frequently tells us, that the action took place at the dawn. 

t The Saxons, wKo wore their corslets, or coats of raaiU 


One man alone returned, of the retinue of most de- 
plorable mountain chief.* One alone, out of three hun- 
dred, who had hastened to the feast of wine and mead — 
men renowned in difficulty, prodigal of their lives, who had 
jovially caroused together in the well-furnished banquet, 
copiously regaling upon mead and wine. 

From the retinue of the mountain chief, ruin has ex- 
tended to us ; and I have lost my chief, and my sincere 
friends. Of three hundred nobles who hastened to Cat- 
traeth, alasl none have returned, but one man alone. 

In the present insurrection, confident was the son of the 
stranger. Easy Was he in his discourse, if he were not 
jocular — hence the delusive security of Gododin.f 

After the wine and mead, he who had been unrestrained, 
is left motionless upon the course, and the red-stained war- 
rior mounts the steeds of the knight, who had been formi- 
dable in the morning. 

* Out of three hundred and sixty-three, we are told that three escaped ; 
or, as it is elsewhere expressed, one man out of a liundred : but from this 
passage it appears, that only one of these pertained to three hundred ot the 
first rank, which composed the more immediate retinue of Vortigem, or the 
fountain chief. 

+ Hengist had carefully disguised his sentiments, lest he should excite a pre* 
nature suspicion of his design. 



" ANGOR DEOE DAEN." p. 10. 

- An Invocation to tibe Sun, in which the Destruction of the 
Foe is predicted. The Praise of Eidiol and the British 
Patriots, who retaliated upon the Saxons. Some Accomit 
of the religious Ceremonies at the solemn Meeting. 

Angor, thon producer of good, thou serpent wh» 
piercest the sullen ones, thou wilt trample upon those who 
are clad in strong mail, in the front of the army. 

In behalf of thy supplicant wilt thou arise; thou wilt 
guard him from the sppiler : thou wilt trample the spear- 
men in the day of battle, in the dank entrenchment, like 
the mangling dwarf,* whose fury prepared ar banquet for 
birds in the tumultuous fight. 

Just art thou named, from thy righteous deed, thou 
leader, director, and supporter of the course of battle. 
O Meriujf son of Madien, happy was thy birth! 

It is an imperative duty, to sing the complete acquisition 
of the warriors who, round Cattraeth, made a tumultuous 
rout. The authors of the bloody confusion were trampled 
under feet. Trampled were the stern ones, whose mead 

• Neddig Nar — an abortion, cut out of the womb of his Bother. 

+ Otherwise, son of Selthenin— Saturn, Noah. The Welsh monks have 
conreited him into a saint. 


had mantled in the homs : and the carnage made By the 
interposers, after the battle had been roused, cannot be 
related by the cauldron of K6d,* though it excel in 

It is an imperative duty, to sing the perfection a)f re- 
nown — the tumult of fire, of thunder and of tempest — the 
exerted bravery of the knight,t who interposed, the red 
reaper, whose soul pants for war. The strenuous, hat worth- 
less man has he decollated in battle. The multitude of the 
land shall hear of his deed. 

With his shield upon his shoulder, has he poured forth 
an effusion (of- blood) as it were wine out of crystal 
vessels. He who extorted silver for his mead, has paid 
gold in return,J and Gwaednerth,^ son of the supreme king 
has had his banquet of wine. 

It is an imperative duty to sing the illustrious patriots, 
who, after the fatal stroke, replenished the stream (of he- 
roism) whose hand satisfied the hunger of the "brown eagles, 
and provided food for the beasts of prey. 

Of those who went to Cattraeth, wearers of the gold 
chains, upon the message of the mountain chief, sovereign- 

• Kihio Kid — the same as Pair Ceridwen — the Cauldron, or sacred Vase- 
of the British Ceres — figuratively, the liardic lore. 

+ Eidiol, or Ambrosius, who, in the year^481, beheaded Hengist at Caer 

i The meaning is, that the Saxons paid dear for their outrage at the feast. 

§ Force of Uood-~ot he who sheds blood by violence, an epithet of the British 


of the natives;* it is manifest there came not to Gododin, 
in behalf of the Britons, a hero from a distant region, who 
vas better than Cynon.f 

It is an imperative duty, to sing the complete associates, 
the cheerful ones of the Ark of the teorld.+ Hu was not 
without his selection; in the Circle of the world, it was 
his choice to have Eidiol, the harmonious: for, notwith- 
standing their gold, their great steeds, and the mead they 
drank, only one dignified man returned from thence — the 
president of the structure of the splendid one, the grandson 
of Enovant. 

It is an imperative duty, to sing the illustrious patriots, 
who came on the message of the mountain chief, sovereign 
of the natives, and the dav.ghter of the lofty Eudav,§ the 
same who selected the unarmed, and dressed in purple, those 
who were destined to be slausfhtered. 


In the festival of May,]] they celebrated the praise of the 
holy ones, in the presence of the purifying fire, which vi-as 

B B 

* Vortigern, the supreme king of the Britons. 

+ " The prince" — Eidiol or Ambrosias, who liad returned from Armorica. 

i The Arkite mythology of ttiis passage deserves the attention, of the curious. 
The great temple was the ark and the circle of the world. Hu, the patriarch, 
was the divinity, and Eidiol, his chosen priest — Hu, at the same lime, wus 
Aeroit, the Arkite — jnK? pr^ tEe splendid one — such is the mixture of Arkite 
and Sabimi superstition. 

§ From Au — and Tav — the false usurper. — The lady liere intended is 
Rowena, the daughter of Hengist; for we have already seen, that she, in 
conjunction with her paramour, Vortigern, disposed the ranks at the feast. 

II Meiwyr, the Mny-men — The meeting took place, at the solemn festival of 
th? Britons, in the beginning of May. — "tha fire here mentioned is well known 
to the Irish, by the name of Bealteinc. See the word in Shaw's Gaiic and liii^liilt. 


made to ascend on high. On the Tuesday, they wore their , 
dark garments — on the Wednesday, they purified their fair 
attire on the Thursday, they truly performed their due rites 
(devoed) — on the Friday, the victims were conducted round 
the circle — on the Saturday, their united exertion was dis- 
;played without the circular dance (didwrn)-— on the Sunday, 
the men with red blades were conducted round the circle — ou 
the Monday, was seen the deluge of gore, up to the belt.* 

After the toil, the man of Gododin, upon his return be- 
fore the tents of Madawc, reports but one man in a hun- 
dred, who came from thence. 



IViis Song contains many Particulars of the fatal Assault ; 
of the Sanctity of the Bardic Temple, and of Eidiol's 
Address and Heroism, in defending it. 

At early morn arose^' the tumult of the gate, before the 
course.-f- There was a breach ; but there was a heap, per- 

• This passage describes some of the regular ceremonies of the meeting, 
•which, upon the present occasion, unexpectedly closed, -with a deplorable 


+ The feast was celebrated, and the outrage committed, upon the Cursus, 
at the distance of half a mile from the temple, and to which one of the avenues 
leads. Upon this avenue, or perhaps, in the very gate, or passage of the 
vallum, which surrounds the structure, and which was probably fortified with 
a strong palisade ; Eidiol kindled a fire to obstruct the irruption of the Saxons, 
who intended to plunder the temple, 


V vaded with fire. Like a boar didst thou protect the mount, 
where was the treasure of the associated ones— the place was 
stained with the dark gore of hawks.* 

Suddenly aroused, in a -moment, after kindling the 
avenue,-^ before theboiandary, and conducting his associates 
in firm arrays— in the front of a hundred, he thrusts forwards 
— " It was horrid that ye (Saxons) J should make a flood 
" of gore in the same merriment, with which ye regaled 
" with mead. Was it brave in you to kill a defenceless^ 
" man, with the cruel and sudden stroke of a sword ? How 
" outrageous were it for an enemy to slay a man not equally 
" armed ! But he (your chief) has descended^ with a sud- 
" den and promiscuous stroke. — The skilful chief of song 
" was not to be outraged. To kill him, when he carried 
" the branch, was a violation of privilege. It was a pri- 
mary law,, that Owen should ascend the course — that 
this branch should whisper before the fierce onset, the 

B B 2 

* These birds of prey seem to imply the Saxons, though the term is often 
used, to denote the British princes. 

+ Aber, any passage or outlet. 

J This speech is put into the mouth of Eidiol, and evidently addressed to the 

§ That is, the Bard, who, as we find, was named Owen. He carried the sacred 
branch, and chaunted the pacific songs of Llywy, the British Proserpine. That 
Owen was invested with the prerogative of a Druid, appears from the striking 
coincidence of this passage, with the testimony of Diodorus, respecting those 
ancient priests. — Lib. V. C 31. 

The passage is thus translated by Dr. Henry. 

" No sacred rite was ever performed without a Druid ; by whom, as being 
" the favourites of the gods, and depositaries of their counsels, the people of- 
" fered all their sacrifices, thanksgivings, and prayers ; and were perfectly 
" submissive and obedient to their commands. Nay, so great was the vene- 
" ration in whicli they were held, that when two hostile armies, infiamei with 
" warlike rage, with swords drawn, and spears extended, were an the point af 
" engaging in battle; at their intervention, they sheathed tjteir swords, and becam* 
"ealm and peaceful," — Hist, of Great Britain, B.I. Chap. g. 



" effectual songs, which claimed obedient attention — the 

" songs of Llywy,* the assuager of tumult and battle. 

" Then would the sword retire to the left side ; the warrior,, 

" with his hand, would support the empty corslet, and the 

" sovereign, from his treasure chest, would search out the 

" precious reward." 

The placid Eidiol felt the heat of the splendid Grannawr,-^i 
(Apollo) when the maid (Llywy) was treated with outrage — 
even she who was supreme in judgment, possessing the 
steeds with bright trappings, and the transparent- shield. 

His (Eidiol's) associates join the fray, determined to 
stand or fall, whilst he, their wasteful leader, conducts the 
war ; even he who loves the native race — the mighty reaper, 
whose energy stains the green sod with gore. 

They sound for steeds — for trappings they sound-; whilst 
over his temples, he binds the defensive band, and the 
image of death, scatters desolation in the conflict. In the 
first onsfet, the lances are couched to the side, and for a 
light in the course, shrubs blaze upon the spears. Thus 
fought the musical tribe,;}; for the injury of thy cell, O Kid, 
and of the conclave where he resided, who merited the de- 
licious, potent mead. 

With the dawn, the ardent herb makes the slaughter 

* Jhe British Proserpine, who was sjinbolized by the Ovum ilBguiniit»i and 
to ^yhom the mystic brunch was sacred, 

+ Grannawr Gwjn— Taliesiu calls him Gran wyn, 

t The half pagan Bards, who, in that age, constituted the clergy of tha 



clash, O fairKSd,* thou ruler of the loegrian tribes ; and 
in his resentment, he punishes .the Vexatious hirelingsf-— 
His renown shall be heard I 


" GWAN ANHON BVU VEDD." — p. 11. 

'the Alliteration connects this with the preceding, and the 
Action is ascribed to the same Person ; but these Lines evi- 
dently refer to the Vengeance which Eidiol, or Ambrosius, 
wreaked upon Vortigem ; of which zve have some further 
Account in Song 30. 

He assaults the infamous contriver of ruin, at the mead 
banquet — the same who grasped the violent spear of Gwy- 
nedd — the bull of the host, who had transgressed the laws of 
princely battle : though he bad kindled the land before his 
fall, the superior band of Gododin provided his grave. 

Involved in vapours, J is he that was accustomed to ar- 
mies. The sovereign, but bitter-handed commander of the 

* The British Ceres, the same as Ceridwtn, the motlier of Llywy, or 

+ Or slaves of the Venedotian—a phrase by which the Bard reproaches the 

t Vortigern's castle, in North Wales, was burnt to the ground by Ambrosius, 
and the unfortunate Icing perished in the flames. — Warrington, p. Si. 


forces, was endowed with talents, but vehement and arro- 
gant" In the feast, he was not harsh to his associates, who 
might remove, and possess his valuable treasures ; but in 
no respect was he a benefactor to his country. 


" AN (SELWIE!" p. 11. 

The Wars of the Britons and Saxons after the Massacre. 
The Bravery ofSidiol or Ambrosius, with some Particulars 
of his Conduct at the Moment of the fatal Catastrophe. 

We are called ! Tlie sea and the borders are in conflict. 
Spears are mutiially rushing — spears of thbse whom we che- 
rished. There is need of Sharp weapons. Gashing is the 
sword. The Seaxes, in wild uproar, are descending on the 
pate. Before the hostile bahd, flaming in steel, there is a 
prosperous leader, even-he who supported the steeds and the 
bloody harness,* on the red-stained Cattraeth. The fore- 
most shaft in the host is held by. the consumer of towns, the 
mighty, dog of slaughter, at the supreme mount.-^- 

We are called ! To the bright glory of conflict, led on 
by the hand of the meritorious, the iron-clad, chief, the 

• Alluding probably to tbe arms of Hengist, namely, a prancing steed, upon 
a red field, which was displayed at the fatal banquet. 

+ The great temple, or British Moant of Judicature, when the nobles, wcra 
4lain by Hengist, 


Sovereign, who is the theme of the Gododin,* — the sove- 
reign, who deplores our divisions. 

Before Eidiolfy the energetic, there is a flame;, it will 
not be blown aside. Men of approved worth has he sta- 
tioned in command. The firm covering guard has he 
placed in the van. 

He it was, who vigorously descended upon the scattered 
foe. When the cry arose, he supported the main weight. 
Of the retinue of the mountain chief, none escaped but 
those defenceless ones, whom his arm protected. 

By the management of the sea rovers, there was not a 
shield amongst them.:[: They insisted upon a clear space to 
light the area. He§ who carried the blue gleaming blade, 
put back his hand, whilst our chief priest|| was leaning 
upon a priest's long staff, seated upon a grey steed, as go- 
vernor of the feast. Beneath the blade,^ there was a dread- 
ful fall of slaughter. Nor from the conflict did he** fly — 

* Eidiol or Ambrosius — ^the undoubted hero of the Gododin. 

+ The original has Eidyn, the living one} but the two next paragraphs 
clearly evince, that Eidioi is the person intended, 

J Though shields were not offensive arms, yet their admission into the as- 
sembly, might have defeated the murderous purpose of Hengist : a reason was 
therefore devised, why they should be excluded. It was pretended that their 
wide orbs would obstruct the light of the torches, during the nightly caroHsal. 
— ^The Saxon corslets were not liable to the same objection, 

§ HengisK 

II Eidiol — ^The Britons and the Germans had great respect for their horse* ; 
but the introducing of the governor of the feast upon his steed, was a whimsical 
rite, whether considered as religious or milttary. 

^ Of Hengist and his Saxons, 

** Eidiol, as above. 


the spearman, mounted upon the st^ed — he who did the 
honouirs of the banquet of delicious, potent mead. , 

I beheld a spectacle* from the high land of the Done, when 
they were descending with the sacrifice round the omen fire. 
I saw what was usual, in a town closely shut up ; and dis- 
orderly men were pierced with agony. — I saw men in com- 
plete order, approaching with a shout, and carrying the 
bead of the freckled intruder. f — May the ravens devour it! 


" MAT MTJDIG." — p. 12. 

Sequel of the Acts of Ambrosius, after the Fall of Hengist, 
with a Hint respecting the Manner of his Death. 

The light and bleached bones of the aliens are removed 
by the fortunate chief : his blue banners are displayed : whilst 
the foe ranges the sea, Gwrawl (Aurelius) is in the watery 
region, with a mighty host. The magnanimous triumphs: 
disarmed is the feeble. It was his primary order, to make ~ 
a descent, before the ships of the royal force, with propul- 
sive strokes, in the face of blood, and of the land. 

I will love thy victorious throne, which teemed with 

* The death and decollation of Hengist at Caer Conan, upon the bank of 
«he JJone— Gibson's Camden, Col. 847. . 

t Dym/nimil Vrych — Hengist, as abore. 


strains of harmony, thou president of the structure of the 
splendid one, with the luminous speech. I could wish to 
have fallen the first in Cattraeth, as the price of the mead 
andvwine in the court — I could wish it for him who never 
disgraced the sword, rather than that he should be slain 
with the pale potion.* — I could wish it for the son of fame, 
who sustained the bloody fight, and made his ^word descend 
upon the violent. Can a tale of valour be recorded before 
Gododin, in which the son of Qeidiawf has not his fame, 
a,s a warlike hero ! 


" TRTJAN YW GENNYF." — p. 12, 

The Bard takes a general Retrospect of the Affairs of Britain, 
from the Time of Vortimer, to the Beginning of the Sixth 

With sorrow I reflect, that after oui: toils, we suffer the 
pang of death through indiscretion. And again, with pain 
and sorrow I observe,' that our men are falling, from the high- 
est to the lowest, breathing- the lengthened sigh, and loaded 
with obloquy. (We are going) after those men who extended 
the fame of our land — Rhuvawn and Gzegawn, Gwyn and 
Gwylged, men most valiant, most magnanimous and firm 

* Ambrosius was poisoned by Eppa, a Saxon, acting in Ae, character of a 
physician. — Warrington, p. 66. 

+ The Preserver — the mystical parent of our hero, as an adept in the mys- 
teries of Bardism. 


in the hour of trial. May their souls obtain^ — now thdr 
toils have ceased — a reception in the heavenly^ region — a se- 
cure dwelling ! 

He who, through a lake of gore, repelled the slavish 
chain* — ^he who, like a hero, cut down those foes, who 
would not retreat to the clear expanse; even he, together 
with the spear, brought forth the crystal cup— ^with mead, 
placed before the princes, he encouraged the army. The 
greatness of his counsels a multitude cannot express. The 
coward was not suffered to hesitate. Before the velocity of 
his great designs, together with the sharpened blades, he 
took care to provide flags of message, the means of support- 
ing his army, a supply of penetrating weapons, and a strong 
yan-guard, with a menacing front. 

In the day of strenuous exertion, in the gallant conflict, 
these displayed their valour ; but after the intoxication, in 
the banquet of mead, there has been no complete deli- 

Our president at the festival;): was prosperous for a 
season : for it will be recorded, that their impulse was bro- 
ken, by men and steeds. But fixed was the decree of fate, 
when they arrived — that vexatious multitude — with sorrow, 
I recount their bands — eleven complete battalions. — Now 
there is precipitate flight, and lamentation upon the road. 

• Vottimer, who, -after a series of bloody battles, drove the Saxons out of 

+ The Saxons never evacuated ths islond, after the massacre of the British 

X Eidiel or Ambrosius. 


Dolefully do I deplore, what I gireatly loved— the Celtic 
glory! And the men of Argoed,* how wofully did they 
associate, to their own overwhelming, with the wretch, 
who utterly ruined the prosperity of the country, for the 
benefit of his chiefs, when upon timbers of rude workmanship, 
at the deluge of affliction, they caroused together at the 
feast.f He it was who had rohhed us upon the fair Thanet,$ 
and with the white and /resA hide.% 

Thou, O Geraint,l| didst raise a shout before the South : 
on the shield didst thou strike a signal, to repair to the 
white water. 

Thou chief of the spear, thou, O gentle chief, didst ren- 
der our youth attached to the glory of the sea — even thou 
didst render them, O Geraint, a generous commander wast 
thou ! 

Instantaneously his fame reaches the harbours. At once, 
the anchors are weighed. Like liberated eagles were, his 
alert warriors — men, who with brilliant zeal would support 
the battle, and scud with a velocity, outstripping the fleetest 

• The Northern Britons, who made a league with Hengiat. 

t The feast, in which Hengist slew the nobles. 

J Danad loyw — Vortigern,. upon Hengist's first arrival, allotted the Isle of 
Thanet for the place of his residence. — Warrington, iiiith his authorities, p. 44. 

§ Hengist desired of Vortigern, agrant of as much British ground as he cquld 
compass about, with a bull's hid^. Having obtained this moderate request, be cut 
a large bull's hide into small thongs, with which he compassed a considerable 
tract, where he founded a castle, called from that circumstance. Thong Castle.-^ 
Camden. (Col. S69) places it in Lincolnshire ; but Verstegan, p. 133, says it 
stood near Sydingborti in Kent. 

II Geraint, son of Erbin, a prince of the Brilons of Devon, and the com- 
mander of a British fleet, in the close of the fifth, and beginning of the sixth 



coursers. If the battle paused, the wine flowed froni the 
capacious vessel. Before he reached the grassy tomb, or 
his locks became hoary with age, he was a hero, who ho- 
aoured the mead banquet with the generous bowl. 



An Elegy upon the Death of Vortigern — the Original is ob~ 
scure, and badly preserved. 

He who brought the influx of ruin upon every region^ — 
like a man indifFeient to all events — strikes the signal upon 
his shield. At length, the strenuous man obtained a retreat 
in Rhyvoniawg,* like the nest of those who are buried, 
and set apart from society. With his warlike steeds and 
gory arms, he deems it fortunate to remain unmolested. 

But he who had afflicted great and courageous men, and 
with his sword, had severely slaughtered in the fight, re-t 
ceives a woful warning of conflict, from him who had pre* 
pared a hundred songs for the festival.'j- 

By the two sons of Urvei was he assaulted ; he was as- 

* In North Wales, whither Vortigern withdrew, after the massacre, covered 
viith coafusion and reproach, — ^Warrington, p. 60. 

t Geoffry of Monmouth says he had this waridng delivered by the Bard, 
Mtrddin Emrys, 


faulted by those two exulting boars, who were of the same 
parentage as a sovereign prince, and a holy maid. And 
though the lord of Gwyhedd was a dignified sovereign, and 
the blood (relation) of Cilydd, our deliverer;* yet before 
the turf was laid upon the face of the magnanimous, but 
falling prince, he was wisely assailed with battle, and di- 
tested of fame and p;rivilege. 

The grave of the lofty Gorthyn is seen from the highlands 
of Rhyvoniawg.f 



A sarcastic Elegy Upon the Death of Hengist, addressed to 
his son Octa, when he was taken at York, whither he had 
fled from the Battle of Caer Conan, in the Year 461. 'j^ 

The garment of Tinogad § is variegated with grey 
stripes-^a fabric of the skins of wild beasts— I will ridicule 

* Perhaps Ambrosias, who was 4 relation of Vortigern. 

+ The wilds of Cariarvonshirt. 

} Compare Gibson's Camden Col, 847, -with Warriliigton, p. 64. 

5 " Br— ch oat of battle," — an epithet of reproach, addressed to 0«ta, 
who had deserted his father in extremity, and fied into YorK 


that lampooner, the captive Octa,* with his juggling ©Ai'e 

When thy father went out hunting, with his lance upon 
his shoulder, and his provisions in his hand, he would call 
his dogs so majestically — " Gif, gaf ; thaly, thaly ; thuc, 
" thuc." J Then would he kill a fish in a hrook, as a lion 
kills a calf. 

When thy father ascended the mountain, he brought 
back the head of a roebuck, of a tuild boar, of a stag, of a 
grey moor hen from the hill, or of a fish from the falls of 
the Derwent.^ 

As many as thy father could reach with his flesh-piercer, 
of wild boars, that had been just dropped and licked — it 
was certain death to them all, unless they proved too 

Were he to come upon me, and unawares, no foe that I 
have met, or that I shall encounter, would be more formi- 
dable. The man has not been nursed, who could be more 
penetrating in the hall, || or more wary in battle. 

On the ford of Penclwyd Pennant were his steeds : at a 

* The author calls liim Wyth, which means Octo; and in this huilesque pas- 
sage, it also, implies Octa, 

t A mimicry of some Saxon words : the meaning is, possibly, white wand, 

t More of Aneurin's Saxon, which I shall not attempt to translate. 

§ A curious anti-climax. 

^ Alluding to his massacre at the feast. 


distance would he seek his fame, closely girt in his armour ; 
but before the long-haired chief was covered with the 
sod, he, the son of the sea-horse, poured out the horns of 

I saw the scene from the high land of the Done,f when 
they were carrying the sacrifice round the omen fire — I saw 
two,J who fell away from their station — even two of the 
disorderly men, who were greatly thwarted — I saw warriors, 
who had made the great breach, approaching with a shout, 
and with the head of the freckled intruder — may the ravens 
devour it ! 

The reminder of the printed copy consists only of various 
Readings, of certain passages, which had been collected by 
some ancient transcriber. 

* Another sarcasm upon bis outrage at the feast. 

't The death of Hengist, as related above. 

J A sarcasm upon Octa and Esca, who retired from the field, and shut 
themselves up in the city of York, where they were forced to surrender. 


I have now, with considerable labour, and, to the best of 
my abilities, with accuracy and fidelity, translated and 
explained the Gododin of Aneurin, that the reader, having 
the whole work under his eye, may draw his own conclu- 
sion from it : and this, if I mistake not, must amount to a 
conviction, that the great catastrophe which the Bard de- 
plores, was no other than that historical event, the mas- 
sacre of the British nobles by the Saxon king, in the 
neighbourhood of Stonehenge ; and consequently, that the 
magnificent temple, or sanctuary, so often introduced, was 
that identical structure, 

Trom hence it must follow, that this pile could not have 
been erected, as fable has sometimes reported, in comme- 
moration of the massacre; but that, on the contrary, it 
was a monument of venerable antiquity in the days of Hen- 
gist ; and fhat its peculiar sanctity influenced the selection 
of that spot for the place of conference between the British 
and Saxon princes. It is equally clear, that the sacred 
building did not receive its name, Gwaith Emrt/s, from 
Hmrys, or Ambrosius, a prince who fought with Hengjst : * 

* Yet- I think it probable, that the resJ founder of this temple may have 
had the name of JLmrys, which was a title of the Helio-arkite god, and hence 
conferred upon his priest, under whose direction the building was completed. 

Aneiirin seems to ascrilie its construction to Morien, Janui Marinus, which was 
also a name of the same god, and of his priest. , 

The mythological Triads describe Morien the FuU-hearded as a foreigner, 
who was vested with the sovereignty of Britain. — W. Archaiol, V. II. p. 6i. 

It is the general tradition of tlie Britons, that the Helio-arhito superstition 
was of foreign growtli, and that it came to them by the waj' of Cornwall, and 
therefore probably from the tin merchants. See the 5th section. And it may 
be reasonably inferred, that the building of tliose temples, which are con- 
structed upon astronomical principles, was not prior to the introduction of that 
superstition, whatever may have been its date."^ 


but diat, on the other hand, it communicated to him ita 
own name, as he was the presideiilt and defender of the 
Ambrosial stones* 

That this ancient structure was Sacred to the Druidicat 
superstition, is fully evident, from the language in which 
it was described, and the great veneration in which it was 
held by the primitive Bards, those immediate descendants, 
and avowed disciples of the British DrUids. 

As the " Grea:t sanctuary of the doininion," or metropo- 
litan temple of our heathen ancestors, so complex in its 
plan, and constructed upon such a multitude of astronomi- 
cal calculations, we find it was not exclusively dedicated to 
X\ie sufi, the moon, Saturn, ot any other individual object 
of superstition i, but it was a: kind of pantheon^ iri which all 
" the Arkite and Sabiari divinities^ of British theology, were 
supposed to have been present ' for here we perceive Nbe 
and Hu, the deified patriarch; Elphin and Rheiddin, the 
sun; Eset/e, Isis; Ked, Ceres, with the cell of her sacred 
fire; lilyxey, Proserpine; Gwydien, Hermes; Budd, vic- 
tory, and several Others^ 

We learn from the Gododin,- that the' conference with 
Hengist, and the fatal banquet, took place upon the Ystre, 
or Cursus, which is still disc6rnible, at the distance of half 
a mile North from the temple. Here, we are told, some 
temporary buildings of rudely hewn timber were ejected, 
for the accommodation of the assembly. 

It is easy to dccoTirtt for the choice of this spot, in an 
age of that gross superstition, which overspread our coun- 
try in the fifth century. The Qeltae oi Gaul and Britain, 

c c 



during their pagan state, were, for the most part, governed' 
by their priests, whose custom it was to assemble, at a 
certain season, to deliberate upon the greatest civil ques-. 
tions, in loco consecrato, or within the verge of their sanc- 
tuaries. And: as this particular sanctuary of Stonehenge 
had been esteemed pre-eminently sacred before the coming 
of the Romans, arid whilst the Britons were an independent 
nation, so, at the departure of those foreigners, it had re- 
coverered its ancient reputation amongst a people, who 
were still pertinaciously attached to their national usages 
and superstitions. And Mai/yras the season appointed for 
the meeting, because it was the solemn anniversary of the 
British mysteries. : . 

To most readers it must appear singular, that in an age 
when Britain was nominally christian, the Bards should 
speak with veneration of a heathen temple, in which hea- 
then , rites were still celebrated : the fact, however, is re- 
corded against them in their own compositions. It may, 
indeed, be urged as an excnse for our present author, that 
he describes the ancient, rather than the actual solemnities 
of the place; and that during the. great Bardic festival, 
some ancient rites may have been admitted, which were 
not, at that time, in ^general establishment : but I do not 
mean to be his apologist. Whatever Aneurin might have 
called himself, it is evident, from the warmth of his lan- 
guage, when speaking of those mystical characters, Hu, 
Ked, Llywrj, and the rest, that they were objects of vene- 
ration to him ; and so, I am persuaded, they were to the 
body of the British nation, whose profession of Christia- 
nity was certainly very imperfect. 

The Bards were generally their priests; and these, as it 


appears from their own works, were determined bigots to 
the ancient superstition. Many of the poptilace of this 
age were also disciples of Pelagius, whose great aim it was 
to blertd the heterogeneous tissue of Druidism with a few 
shreds of Christianity. Could a people, who had profited 
so little by the light of the gospel, complain of the act of 
Providence^ in depriving them of their dominion and their 
country ? 

The evidence which has been brought forward in this 
section, will, perhaps, prove to the satisfaction of the can- 
did antiquary, that the larger British monuments, consist- 
ing of rude stone pillars, disposed into circles, whether of 
twelve, nineteen, thirty, or more stories, were temples, sa- 
cred to some divinity, or to all the divinities of the hea- 
then Britons. I shall now proceed to make a few obser- 
vations upon some other monuments of the same super- 

In the account of the temple of the Gyvyldd, we are 
told, that " Not far from it there are three other large 
" stones, pitched on end, in a triangular form." Such ap- 
pendages, either within or'near to the sacred circles, often 
occur; and they have been generally regarded as consti- 
tuting the cell or Adytum of their respective temples. 
Thus, at Abury, in the Northermost circle, is a cell or 
Kebla, formed of three stones, placed with an obtuse angle 

c c a 


t6wards each dpening to the North-east, before which lay 
the altar, as at Stonehenge.* 

That the cell of Ceres, or " The stone cell of the he 
" norary fire" did exist at Stonehenge, is a circum* 
tance ascertained by Aneurin's Gododin ; and it is highly 
probable, that the same was recognised in other temples, 
where Ceres presided^^ either alone, or in conjunction with 
other divinities : yet I have considerable doubts, whether 
the monuments of this kind, which I have seen, or of 
which I have read the description, did constitute the cells 
in question. I rather suspect, that these stones were either 
the very images of the gods, to whom the temples were 
dedicated, or that they were esteemed peculiarly sacred to 
them, and viewed as emblems of their presence. Thus the 
three large stones before the temple of the GyvylcM, may 
have represented the three great objects of superstition, 
liu. Kid, or Ceridwen, and Llywy or Creirwy, or Bacchvs, 
Ceres, and Proserpine, whose history and rites were closely 
connected in British mythology. 

No images pertaining to our pagan progenitors, carved 
either into the human shape, or that of any animal, have 
been discovered and ascertained, unless the figures pour- 
tiayed upon the British coins should be thought to deserve 
the name of images: hence it is probable, that such things 
were, at least, very rare amongst them. 

As the Britons had preserved the usage of the earliest 
age^, in the form and rude materials of their open temples, 
why may they not have observed the same rule with regard 

• Maurice^ Ind. Antiq. Vol. VT p. 138. 


to images ? And we have good authority to assert, that — 
" In ancient times, they had no images in their temples ; 
" but in lieu of them, they used conical stones, called 
'' BajTuAia, Under which representation their deity was often 
" worshipped."* 

Mr. Bryant also remarks, that Ab-adir was a rvUi;, or 
stone pillar, representing Ops, the wife of Saturn. One of 
these stones, according to Pausanias, stood at Delphi : it 
was deemed very sacred, and used to have libations of wine 
poured upon it daily ; and upon festivals, it was otherwise 

Again we are told, that " Near the temple of Eleusinian 
" Damater, in Arcadia, were two vast stones,, called Pe- 
" troma, one of which was erect, and the other was laid 
" over, and inserted into the former. There was a hollow 
" place in the upper stone, with a lid to it. In this, among 
" other things, was kept a kind of mask, which was thought 
" to represent the countenance of Damater, to whom these 
" stones were sacred. "J 

These passages are adduced, in order to shew, that nei 
tlier the form nor the situation of those rude isolated stones, 
which are attached to our British temples, is irreconcileable 
with the primitive memorials of those very divinities, which 
our ancestors venerated. 

• Bryant's Analysis, V. I. p. 49. 

t Ibid. p. 476. 

:^ Ibid. V. II. p. 203. 


Leaving this hint to the consideration of the antiquary, I go 
on to inquire for another kind of apparatus, which was deem- 
ed (essential to the due celebratjon of the heathen mysteries. 

In the tale of Taliesin's initiation, of which I have 
treated at large in the preceding section, and in some of 
that Bard's poems upon the S3,me subject, we are told that 
Cerjdwen, transforming herself into a bird, swallowed the 
noviciate, who had taken the form of a grain of pure 
wheat ;. that she c6ntin>ied for some time pregnant of him, 
and that, at the expiration of that period, he was bom 

This is a dark allegory; but we shall find others upon the 
same epic, of easier solution. 

In another passage which I have quoted, the Bard re* 
presents himself as a grain of the Atkites, which had vege- 
tated upon the mount, and produced an ear of cortr; in 
this state, the reaper placed in a close, smoky recess, in order 
to ripen. 

In a third passage, the Bard plainly tells us, that he had 
endured a close confinement in the hall of Celidwen, where 
he was subjected to jje«a«ce, fLXid modelled into the form of 
a perfect man. This is also the representation which H}'\\'el, 
the son of Owen, gives of the affair. 

l^ow it may be fairly presumed, that this confinement in 
the zvomb of Oeridwen, in the hall of that goddess, and in 
the smoky recess, implies one and the same thing : and those 
representations clearly allude to the inclosure of the novi- 
ciate, either for mortification, and trial of his fortitude, or 
for fippropriate instruction in some private cell, which was 


sacred to Ceres, which bore her name, and was, therefore, 
deemed to constitute her mystical person, of whom the 
aspirant was to be born again. 

Something of this kijnd, I presume, was also implied by 
the n«r<i5, or bed, in which it was requisite that the Greek 
aspirant should be covered, before he could be admitted to 
the greater mysteries. 

I have some reason to think, that the British cells ap- 
propriated to this use, are to be recognized amongst those 
monuments, which are known by the general name of 
Cromlech. These consist of a certain number of stones, 
pitched in the ground, so as to form a cell, which is covered 
ovej;^with a flat stone of enormous dimensions. We have 
seen, that there are several of these Cromlechs near the 
circle of the Gyvylchi, in Snowdon ; and they are generally 
found either in the neighbourhood, or in, the very centre of 
similar monuments. 

The date of these erections being very remote, and their 
use entirely forgotten, it is not improbable, that being 
misled by certain resemblances, which present themselves- 
to superficial observation, we confound two or three kinds 
of monuments which are really distinct, and which were 
erected: for diiferent purposes ; and that in consequence of 
this mistake, when we have discovered the use of one 
Cromlech, we make erroneous conclusions respecting others. 

I shall mention two or three opinions^ which have been 
thus generally applied. 

In the Cromlech, some antiquaiies see nothing but the 
hloodif altars of the Druids, smoking with human victim*. 

To this opinion, it lias been replied, that many of them 
seem, by their gibbous form, and slanting position, to be 
very ill-contrived for the purpose of altars, and that, they 
bear no marks of the action of fire, upon the upper side. 

Others pronounce them altogether sepulchral, and sup- 
port their opinion, with the evidence of bones and urns, 
which have been found under some few of them ; but it may 
be objected, that several Cromlechs virhich have been ex-: 
aoiined, shew no vestige of sepulture, and others seem tq 
have been badly calculated for the purpose, as standing 
upon unbroken rocI?s. 

If it be urged, that because some of them are found to be 
sepulchres, they must all be regarded as of the sepulchral 
form; this argument will only add support to my hypothesis. 
Initiation represented death, and a renovation from the dead. 
In the British iny$teries, thj3 noviciate passed the river of 
death, in the boat of Garan Mr, the Chfiron of antiquity : 
and before he could be admitted to this privilege, it was re- 
quisite that h.e sliould have been piysticalhf. buried, as well as 
mystically dead. And thus much seems to be implied in the 
ancient Greek formularyr-Y«ro To»«raro»V'°!^'"?'' — " I covered 
myself, or was CQvered in thp b^d" 

Cromlech, according to Mr. Qwpn, whqse opinion, upon 
this su]3Ject, deserves attention, is nothing more than the 
vulgar name for the Crair Gorsedd, Maen Llog, or Maen 
Gorsedd; the stone of covenant, or altar of the Bards'; which 
was placed within the Cylch Cyngrair, or circlf of federation : 
and on which were performed various ceremonies belonging 
^o Bardism.* 

• Spe W. Eng. Diet, V. Cromlech. 


Crair Gorsedd, literally implies the token or pledge of the 
supreme seat; and Maen Llog, the stone of the ark or chest. 
It is therefore, the same as Aneurin's Llogell Byd^ ark of 
the world, in which the priest of Hu had been inclosed. 
The application of these terms to the Cromlech, goes a great 
way towards establishing my opinion : for as a due initia-' 
tion into the sacred mysteries, was the last requisite towards 
completiilg the co»ena«? or ye«?era<iow of the Bards ; so this 
stone of the ark was employed in the celebration of those 

That some of the inonuments, called Cromlechs, were 
actually resorted to in celebrating the rites of Ceres, and 
that the'stone arks, or chests which they covered, constituted 
the womb or hall of the goddess, in which the aspirants 
were inclosed, will appear from the following observations, 

Ceridwen, or Ceres, was the genius of the ark; and that 
ark had its representative in the temple, or sanctuary of the 
goddess. Hence the mythological triads record the feat of 
Gwgawn Lawgadarn, the severe one, with the mighty hand, 
who rolled the stone of Mam-Arch, the stone ark, from 
the valley to the top of the hill, though it was so large, 
that not less than sixty oxen could have moved it. 

This Gwgawn was a mere personification of the Druidical 
Hierarchy, or of the ministers which «hey employed : and the 
stone, of the stone ark, is not to be understood as implying 
one individual slab, but as a general appurtinent to a kind 
of monument known by that najne ; and as a memorial of 
its prototype, the ark of Noah. 

If we look upon Ihe tops pf our hills for monumental 


stones, which answer this description, we shall find them 
0nly in the enormous Cromlech,' the covering stone of the 
Kist-vaen,- stone chest, or ark — a name precisely synony- 
mous with Maen-Ar'ch. 

That all these monuments could n.ot have been mere 
altars, or mere sepulclvres, is evident from their yeryiform. 
For instance, the. monument in Gower, called Arthur's 
ttone^ is. thus de§erihed. 

" They (the stones) are to be seen upon a jutting, at 
" the North-west of Kevn Bryw, the most noted hiU in 
" Gower »-*-Their fashion and positure is this. There; is 
" a vast unwrought stone, probably about twenty, tuns 
" weight, supported by six or seven others that are 
".not above four feet high; and these are set -iu, a. circle, 
" some on end, and some edgewise, or sidelong, to bear 
" the great one up. The great one is much. diminished of 
" what it has been in bulk, as having five , tuns, or more, 
" by report, broke off it, to make mill-stones : so that I 
f* guess, the stone originally to have been, between twenty- 
" five and thirty tuns in weight.^The common people call 
" it Arthur's stone — under it. is a well, which, as the iieigh- 
" hours tell me, has a flux and reflux with the sea,"* 

Here we find the Cromlech, as the cover of a mystic cell 
or stone ark, furnished with its sacred fountain. The as- 
cribing of this, and similar monuments, to Arthur, is not, 
as our author supposes, a vulgar .conceit, respecting the hero 
of thai name, who lived in the sixtli century. I have dis-. 
tinguished an Arthur, celebrated in the mythological triads. 

* Gibson's Camden, Col, 7-11. 


and in the works of the Bards; as the representative of the 
patriarch, who was inclosed in the ark; to the traditional 
history of which, the fountain under this Maenarch, or 
stone-aik, seems to have had an' allusion: for we are told 
that the inclosure of Sidi, or seat of Ceres, contained a 
well of water which was sweeter than wine. I have seen: the 
remains of a similar cell, in Llanvareth, in Radnorshire, 
inclosing a fair spring; called ■F^nawn -Ernion, or the well 
of the just one : and I learn from Mr. Maurice, that foun- 
tains often occurred in the sacred cells of antiquity, which 
were appropriated to the celebration of mysteries. 

Let us hear the description of another Cromlech, which 
appears as an appendage to an ancient temple. 

" There are in this county (Pembrokeshire) several such 
" circular stone monuments as that described in Carmar- 
" thenshire, ■ by the name of Meineu Gwyr; and K&vn 
•" Llechart, in Ctlamorganshire. But the most remarkable 
" is that which is called Y Gromlech — ^in Nevern* parish, 
■" where are several rude stones pitched on end, in a circu- 
" lar order ; and in the midst of the circle, a vast rude stone, 
" placed on several pillars. The diameter of the ara is 
*' about fifty feet. The stone, supported in the midst of 
" this circle, is eighteen feet long, and nine in breadth; 
" and at the one end, it is about three feet thick, but 
" thinner at the other- There lies also by it, a piece bro- 
" ken off, about ten feet in length, and five in breadth, 
" which seems more than twenty oxen could draw. It is 
" supported by three large rude pillars, about eight feet 
" high; but there are also five others, which are of no 

Kev-ern, pledge of heaven. 

" use at present, as not being high enough, or duly placed, 
" to bear arty weight of the top stone. Under this stone 
" the ground is neatly flagged, considering the rudeness of 
" monuments of this kind."* 

This Cromlech, covering a rude, but magnificent cell, 
with a paved floor, and placed in the midst of the sacred 
circle, has not the appearance of a sepulchral monument. 

Many of these monuments, it has been observed, bear the 
name of Arthur, being styled his tables, his quoits, and the 


But in the tale of Taliesin's initiation, the table of Arthur 

is connected with the mysteries of Ceridwen, and in Uan 
Beudyf parish, in Carmarthenshire, we find a monimient 
which joins the name of Arthur with another name, which 
we can only refer to that goddess. It is called Bwrdd 
Arthur, Arthur's table, and Gwal y VUast, the couch, or 
n*rij«j of the Greyhound bitch. 

This is a rude stone, about ten yards in circumference, 
and above three feet thick, supported by, four pillars, which 
are about two feet and a half high. J 

Not to insist upon the dogs, which were always exhibited 
in the mysteries of Isis and Ceres, and the title of dogs, 
with which their priests were distinguished, it must be re^r 
marked, that in the mythological tale which I have just 

• Gibson's Camden, Col. 759,— See also 7ffl, 740, &c. 

+ Ox-house. 

i Gibsou's Caindcn, Cpl. 7a3. 


mentioned, "wre are told, that Ceridwen transformed herself 
into a greyhound bitch, and in that form, chased the aspirant 
towards the river. 

In this monument, therefore, we have a commemoration 
of the Diluvian patrigjcch, under the mythological name of 
Arthur; and of the gemas of the ark, under her assumed 
character of a greyhound bitch. 

And lest it should be thought, that tlie latter circumstance 
is purely accidental, it must be ohseryed, that more than 
one spot preserves the memory of the mystical bitch. 

:♦ There is a monument of the same kind, and distinguished 
by the same name of Gwal y Vilast, in Glamorganshire, 
and a third, called Llech yr Ast, the flat stone of the^ bitch, 
in Cardiganshire.* 

And it jnay be suspected, that some of the connections 
of this mystical lady, had assumed a correspondent form ; 
as we find Ffynawn Maen Milgi, the spring of the grey- 
hound's stone, a remarkably large stream, issuing out of the 
side of Berwyn mountain, in Meirionethshire f 

Near Llech yrAst, in Cardiganshire, there are five Kist 
Vaens, stone chests, or cells, and a circular area, inclosed with 
rude pillars, &c. ; so that it appears to have been a work 
of the very same kind, as the temple of Ceres and Proser- 
pine, in the Gyvylchi. 

Ceridwen, the British Ceres, was also represented under 
the character of the Giantess. Taliesin, giving an account of 

■ ■ '■ ■ ■ ■ « i . I " 

• Gibson's Cftmden, Col; 772. 778. 
f Camb. Reguter, V. I. p. 898. 


his inistfation, ; styliesr her — Hen Widdon Ddulon, the old 
dark-smiling. Giantess. Under this figure she claims another* 
monument in Cardiganshire, called Llecli y Gowres, the flat 
stone of the Giantess. — " Being an exceeding Azast stone, 
" placed on four other very large pillars oi- supporters, 
" about the height' of five or six feet. Besides which four,' 
'^ there are two others pitched on end, under the top stone, 
" but much lower. — There are also three stones, two large 
" ones, and behind them a lesser, lying on the ground, at 
" each end of this monument. — This Lleth y Gtizeres stands 
" on such a small bank, or rising, in a plain open field, a» 
" the fiv6 stones, near the circular mofitiment, calleck 
" Rolrich stones, in Oxfordshire."* 

Near this Llech y Gowres are several monuments, which 
have an evident relation to the same subject; as Meini 
Hirion, retaining the name and the form of Ceridwen's 
temple in the Gy vylchi ; Meini Kyvrivol the stones of the 
equalized computation, being nineteen in number, the cycle 
of the sun and moon, or Liber and Ceres; Hir vaen 
Gwyddbg, the high stone of the Mysfagogue ; unless it be 
a* corruption: of Gwydion, Hermes, or Gteyddon, the Giantess: 
this is a pillar, about sixteen feet high, three feet broad, 
and two thick. Not far from it is a Mam y Prenvol, the 
^tone of the wooden ark, or chest ; this must have been the 
memorial, or the repository of an ark of. wood: — and Gwdy 
Taliesin, the bed or, n«ro! of Taliesin, which is also a kind 
of stone chest. 

.'*X take this, and all others of this kind, (continues my 

• Gibson's Camdeii, Col. 7T3, 




" author), tOr be old heathen monUiments,, and am far from 
" believing, that Taliesin was interred there."* 

And if we allow the probaj^le conjecture, that they are. 
heathei; monuments, there is Ctvery reason to pronounce 
them Dmidi^al, and to infer, , that they were constructed 
for that purpose, which general analogy, their peculiar form, 
and their very names declare. - ■ ' 

Had they been erected since the times of the Druids, 
their names, or the traditions respecting them, would surely 
have preserved some memorial of the occasion of their con- 
struction. Instead of this,, we generally find some, circum- 
iF stance,, either in their names or situation, which connects 
them with the Druidical establishment. 

Thus, the great Anglesea Cromlech is surrounded by 
Tre'r Dryzp, Druid's town; Tre'r Beirdd, Bard's town ; 
B6d Ozeyr, the dwelling of the Ovates, and the monument 
called Cerig y Bryngieyn, stones of the hill of judicature. f 

So again ; there is a parish in Denbeighshire, called Cerig 
y Drudion, Druid's stones; and the monuments which entitle 
it to this name, are two Kist Vaens, ox stone chests, covered 
with their ponderous slabs, ox Cromlechs ; and these chests,, 
are traditionally reported to have served the purpose of 
prisons. + 

I must here repeat my hint, that the Cromlech, and 

• Gibson's Camden, Col. 773. 
t Ibid. Col. 809. 
I Ibid. Col. 813. 


Kistiaen, arc constituent pairts of fhe same monuiQeflty 
which is distinguish^ by one or other of these names, as 
the incumbent stone, or the inclosed cell, becomes the 
most considerable object of remark. And though I do not 
deny, that some monuments of similar form, have serverf 
the purpose of sepulchres ; yet, I am persuaded, that they 
were in general, tjie Maenarchs, or stone arks of the Triads," 
and those in which the British Ceres, and Proserpine, con 
fined and humbled their votaries. 

If It be objected, that at present, we seldom find these 
Cells sufficiently close and secure, for the purpose of con^ 
finement; it must be recollected, that time and accident 
have injured them; that in the age of superstition, it is pro-'* 
bable they were surrounded with a fence of wood, or some 
perishing materials, which have long since disappeared ; 
and that the coilfinement itself, is liot supposed to have 
been absolutely involuntary. It was a trial of fortitude, 
rather than of force. 

Even the traditions which report the larger works of tliis 
kind to have been sepulchral, will, if closely examined, favour 
that idea of their application, which I have suggested. Thusy 
" We have a tradition, that the largest Cromlech in this 
" county (Anglesea) is the monument of Bronwen, daugh- 
" ter of King Lli/r, or Leirus, who, you know, is said to 
" begin his reign, Anno Mundi 3105."* 

I shall not Jtake the trouble to examine the lera of this 
Anno Mundi sovereign, who, as such, was unknown in 
Wales before the days of Geoifry, of Monmouth, though 

■ Gibion's Camden, Col., ?10. 


btar modem heralds have made some effoirts to verify his 

The tale was, originally, mythological 5 and the daughter 
of Ll^r, the Cordelia of Shakespdare, was Creirddylad, 
whom Gwyn ab Nudd, the British Pluto, claims as his 
mistress.* This lady, therefore, was our Proserpine :f and 
the tradition respecting the great Anglesea Cromlech, 
amounts to nothing more than this — that it constituted a 
cell, sacred to Proserpine. 

I find that the same Brohwen, the daughter of Ll^r, like 
Creirwy, the daughter of Ceridwen, had a brother, named 
Bran, the raven, who had the disposal of the mystical 

This history, therefore, brings us home to the sanctuary, 
and to the mystical rites of Ceridwen and her family. The 
daughter of Llyr, the sea, the mistress of Pluto, and the 
sister of the raven, was no other than Creirm/f the daugh- 
ter of the British Ceres, to whom the same cauldron was 
peculiarly sacred. 

The Cromlech is distinguished in the Triads by another 
name, synonymous with Maenarch, and referable to the 
history of Ceridwen, considered as the genius of the ark. 
The name I mean is Maen Kettif 

D o 

• W Archaiol. p. 166. 

t See some farther account of her in the next lectioa. 
/ % See Mr. Turner's Vindicution, p. 883. 


We are told, that the three mighty lahours of the island 
of Britain were, lifting the stone of Ketti ; building the 
work of Emrys; and piling up the mount of the as- 

The work of Emrys implies the sacred circles, such as 
Stonehenge, which is known by that name; the Main 
Ambres, in Cornwall ; Dinas Emrys, in Snowdon ; and 
other Petrai Ambrosiai ; and in Silbury-hill, we may con- 
template the mount of the assemblies: but what third liindi 
of British monument is there, which displays the effect of 
great labour in lifting a stone, unless it be the enormous 
Cromlech ? 

Ketti is a derivative of Ket, and this must have implied 
an ark or chest; for we still retain its diminutive form, 
Keteri, to denote a small chest, or cabinet. 

I have had frequent occasion to remark, that Ceridwen, 
the Arkite. goddess, is distinguished by the name of Red. 
Aneurin, in his Gododin, repeatedly calls her by this name, 
and speaks of Cibno Kid as synonymous with Pair Cerid- 
wen, the cauldron of Ceridwen, or sacred vase of Ceres. 
Now, those who are at all conversant in Cambro-British 
writing, must be aware, that Md and Ket are precisely the 
same word, it being usual in our old orthography, to write 
the final t, where at present we use the d. Thus we have 
hot, bod; cat, cad; tat, tad; and a hundred moi-e; for the 
rule is general, and almost without exception. 

From the things which were produced out of the ark, or 
chest, the word Ked figuratively implies a betiefit, aid, re- 

• W. Archaiol. V. 11. p. TO. 


Itef', wherefore Maen Ket-ti signifies th6 gtone of 'the arh'ite 
power, or the stone of beneficence i and it could have been 
no other than the ponderous covering of that cell which re* 
presented the aik, and which was eminently dedicated to 
the beneficent Ceres.* 

I have how shewn, that these monuments frequently re-« 
tain the name of Arthur, the mythological representative 
of Noah, and the husband of Gwenhwyvar, the lady on the 
summit of the water ; that is, the ark, or its substitute — that 
the same monuments are distinguished by several titles, 
which imply an ark, or chest — that they commemorate the 
various names and characters of Ceridwen, the genius of 
the ark, whilst one of them, in particular, is distinguished 
"by the name of her votary, Taliesin — that they commemo- 
rate the superstition of the Druids, both by their names 
and their local situation-r-that they are reported to have 
been used as prisons — and that the mysteries of Ceridweii 
and her daughter, were celebrated in the circle of the Gy- 
vylchi, to which the Cromlech and its Kist Vaen are 

And from these premises I infer, that such monuments 
generally had a relation to that ceremony, which is mysti- 
cally described as the aspirant's confinement in the zoomb 
of Ceridwen, whence he was born again, and thus became 
her mystical child. For this confinement of the aspirant, 
which preceded his being shut up in the coracle, and 
cast into the sea, in the course of the greater mysteries, 
could have meant nothing more than his inclosure in some 


* I find this goddess described by several derivatives of Ked or Ket, as 
Kedi^ Kedwy, Y Qifipwl, which eijuaUjf inifilj the 4'''^ite and tb« beneficent. 


cell, which was sacred to that goddess. And Taliesin has , 
told us, that the Llan or cell in which he was inclosed, was 
Uch llawVi above the surface of the ground. 

Of the ceremony of imprisoning the noviciates in such 
cells, we may find some farther hints in the mythological 

Thus — " The three pre-eminent prisoners of the island 
" of Britain, were Llyr Llediaith, in the prison of Jiuros- 
" wydd the sovereign, Madawc, the son of Medron, and 
" Gwair, the son of Geiriawn. And one was pre-eminent 
" over the three, namely, 'Arthur, who was imprisoned 
" three nights in the inclosure of Oeth and Anoeth, and 
" three nights with the lady of Pendragon, and three 
" nights in the prison of Kud, under the flat stone of 
" Echemeint : and one youth released him from the three 
" prisons, namely, Goreu, the son of Cystenin, his ne- 
" phew."* 

The whole of this account was apparently extracted from 
some ancient mythological tale, relating to the deluge, and 
to certain mysteries which were celebrated in memorial of 
it, A short analysis of the circumstances will evince the 
probability of this fact. 

The first of the noted prisoners was Jjlyr Llediaith, that 
is, half language, or mysterious representation of the sea,-\^ 

Our heralds have not only given Caractacus, the cele- 
brated hero of the first century, a grandfather of this 

• W. Archaiol. V. II. p. 12. Tri. 50. 

+ Or, taking the words in the order in which they stand — "Sea' of mystery," ' 


name ; but have also furnished this grandfather with a long 
series of progenitors :_ so that we have JJi/r IJediaith, nh 
Paror, ab Ceri Mr Uyngwyn, ab Ceidog, ab Arth, ab Mei' 
rion, ab Eranit, ab EidoL* 

But as these heralds could have had no authority for such 
early pedigrees, excepting the mystical poems of the Bards, 
and some old tales, which were purely mythological ; as it 
has been very, usual, since the days of GeofFry of Mon- 
mouth, to mistake British mythology for history ; and as 
the interpretation of proper names generally furnishes the 
best key to Bardic (enigmas, it may not be amiss to try the 
•eries now before us by this rule. 

Here, then, we are presented with the mysterious repre- 
sentation of the sea, the son of him who remained, tHe son 
of the lofty seed of the white lake (reputed the first navi- 
gator amongst the ancestors of the Cymry), the son of the 
preserver, the son of the hear (Arth, from Arcto, to con- 
fine), the son of the guardian, the son of the vessel, the son 
of the living one. 

To an ordinary reader, this does not sound like the *eal 
pedfgree of an ancient British prince ; it is rather a series of 
mystical terms, relating to the history of the deluge. 

Even if we suppose that these mythological titles were 
conferred upon the ancestors of Caractacus, it is nothing 
more than ai^ early instance of a custom, which is known 
to have prevailed in the fifth, and beginning of the sixth 
century, when the Britons, delivered from the Roman 
yoke, attempted to re-establish their ancient superstition. 

♦ Owen's Cam, Biog. V. Llyr. 


And still, 'the confinement of Ulyr, in the prison of Eur<- 
oszeydd, the splendid destroyer, seems, to allude to his ini- 
tiation into certain mysteries, rather than to his detention 
at Rome, either with his illustrious grandson, or as a hos- 
tage in his place. 

Tire imprisonment of Madawc, who is sometimes styled 
ihe son of Mellt, lightning, is said, in another Triads to 
have been amongst' the Gwyddelian Picts ; and the legend, 
probably, alludes to some similar mysteries, which were 
celebrated in the North of Britain, when the Romans were 
masters of the South; 

The nature of Gwair's imprisonment may be easily com- 
prehended, by the assistance of Taliesin's, Preiddeu Annwii^ 
spoils of the deep, or ravages of the deluge, which begins 
thus — 

" I will adore the sovereign, the supreme ruler of the 
'' land! If he extended his Aomimon oyer the shores of the 
" world, yet in good order was the prison of Gwair, in 
" Caer Sidi. Through the mission of Pwyll and Pryderi 
'•' (reason and forethought), no one before him entered 
" into it. The heavy, blue chain didst thou, O just man! 
*' endure ; and for the spoils of the deep, woful is thy 
" song; and till the doom shall it remain in the Bardic 
"' prayer. Thrice the fullness of Prydxcen did rce enter 
" into the deep ; excepting seven, none have returned from 
« Caer Sidi" 

This is clearly the history of the deluge; and Gwair, re- 
novation, the just man, being the first and principal person 

* AppeDdUi No. 3, 


who entered Caer Sldii the ark, when the Supreme exerted 
his power over the shores of the world, could have been no 
other than the patriarch himself. 

Gvvair is mysticallj' represented in the Triads as the son 
of Gwestyl, the great tempest : and in ajiother place, as the 
son of Gciriawn, the teord of justice. We are told, that 
this personage and his family were confined in the prison of 
Oeth and Anoeth, from which none of his posterity ever 
attempted to escape.* Hence it appears, that the prison of 
Oeth and Anoeth was the same as Caer Sidi ; that is, in a 
primaiy sense, the ark itself, and in a secondary accepta- 
tion, the Arkite temple, 

Oeth and Anoeth seem to be nothing more than the anti- 
quated orthography of Wyth and Anwyth, wrath, and the 
remission of ierath — or the accumulation and the subsiding 
of the deluge. 

We have seen that Cuhelyn uses the term Anoeth, to de- 
scribe the great temple, before which Hengist committed 
his outrage — that is, Stonehenge. 

Myvir corein mirein Anoeth. 

" The study of the fair circle of Anoeth" 

And Taliesin uses lii-wyth and Gprwyth, as synonymous 
with Anoeth and Oeth. 

Yn annvvfn y Di-wijth 
Yn annwfn y Goneyth.-\ 

* W. Aroh^iol. V, 11. p. 68. Tri. 61. 

+ W. Archaiol. p. 35. The lines seem to have, been transposed bj soibb- 
copjiist, who did not undcratand them. 


" In the deep which is void of wrath; 
" In the deep where extreme indignation dwells." 

The perpetual imprisonment of Gwair and his^ posterity 
in this inclosure, can only mean, that the patriarch and his 
family were once shut up in the ark, and that the Druids 
acknowledged none as his legitimate descendants, but those 
who were initiated into the Arkite mysteries, and >vho per' 
petually kept within the pale, or strictly adhered to the laws 
of their institution, 

Hence we perceive, that Arthur's first confinement in the 
prison of Oeth and Anoeth, was the same with that of 
Gwair; or, in other words, that the Arthur of mythology 
is only another representative of the polyonymous patriarch. 
And this idea is confirmed by the same poem of Taliesin 
upon the spoils of the deep,, where we find Arthur presiding 
in the sacred ship. — " When we went with Arthur in his 
" splendid labours, excepting sevens none returned frow 
" Caer Vediwid." 

Arthur's second imprisonment with Wen ^endragon, or 
the lady qf the supreme leader, out of which GeofFry of 
Monmouth has wprked up a curious tale, is either a dupli- 
pate of the same history, taken from an old mythological 
allegory, or else it refers to the mysteries of Ceres. For 
the lady here introduced was Eigi/r, the generative prin- 
ciple, or the source, of generation, and tiierefore the Magna 
Mates, Ceridrcep,, py Ceres. 

Arthur's third imprisonment in the cell of KM, or Kyd, 
under the flat stone of Echemaint, evidently alludes to the 
British mysteries, which commemorated the Diluvian his, 
|ofy, And the cell appropriated tb this emblematical cona 



Unement, must have been of that kind, which we still dis- 
cover under enormous " Flat stones," in various parts of 

As to the name of Kyd, the proprietor of this prison, I 
have already remarked, that it is an appellation of the Ar- 
kite goddess, and of the ark itself. — " Let truth be ascribed 
" to Menwyd, the dragon chief of the world, who formed 
" the curvatures of Kyd, which passed the dale of grievous 
" water, having the fore-part stored with corn, and mounted 
*' aloft, with the connected serpents."* 

I also observe, that in an old christian poem, which goes 
under the name of Taliesin, the jfeA which swallowed Jonof 
is called Kyd. — , 

A ddug Jonas o berfedd Kyd \ 

« Who brought Jonas out of the bdly of Kyd?" 

This is onlyt the Greek kiw?, which Mr. Bryant pro- 
nounces to have been an emblem of the ark.J Whether 
our ancestors viewed their Kyd under this emblem or not, I 
will not pretend to decide ; but I observe that, in one old 
copy on vellum, the cell under the flat stone is siniply called 
Carchar HM, the prison of mystery. 

The name ISchemaint, which is given to this stone, I do 

* Appendix, No. IS. 

+ W. Archaiol. p. 43. 

% Analysis, V. fit. p. 301 and 408. 

4tO ^ 

not understand: in another copy, it is called Y Llech m 
Chymmraint, the flat stone of social privilege : and this 
seems to describe an instrument of initiation, which ad- 
mitted the aspirant to the privileges of the regenerate society. 

But to dismiss this inquiry. Under whatj^aif stones could 
the Arkite goddess have confined her votaries, in order to 
confer these privileges upon them, unless it were those 
which are attached to her sanctuaries, which cover recep- 
tacles proper for the purpose, which are denoniinated stone 
arks, and which, in their local designations, retain the name 
of Arthur and Ceridwen, and the memorial of Arkite 
mysteries ? 

Arthur is said to have been released from each of the 
three prisons by Goreu, Best, the son of Cystenin, which is 
the British name of Constantine ; but no son of that prince 
could have released the patriarch from the prototype of the 
mystic cell. We may therefore suppose, that the compiler 
of the tale plays upon the sound of tlie word, and that we 
ought to understand Cistenin, the minister of the arJc, 



Traditions relating to the Progress, Revolutions, and Sup- 
pression of the British Superstition. 

jI\ ^CCESSFUL investigation of the progress and revo- 
lutions of Druidism, might be expected to attract the no- 
tice of the public. It would certainly be curious to trace the 
changes, whether improvements or corruptions, which toot 
place in the rdigion of our early progenitors, and to have 
an opportunity of discriminating between those rites and 
superstitions, which they originally brought with them into 
Britain, and those which, in the course of ages, they 
adopted from other pations, or devised from their own 

But for the basis of such an investigation, we want an 
authentic historical document, enlighted by accurate chro- 
nology, and divested of allegorical obscurity. Upon this 
subject, no such aid is to be found. The religion of the 
Britons, like that of other heathens, grew up in the dark. 
All that we hav€ left is a mass of mythological notices, 
which were certainly written in ages, when Druidism was 
in high esteem, and had many votaries : ^nd from those, 
the genuine opinion and tradition of the Britons, dur- 
ing those ages, may be in some measure collected. 
From these aenigmatical tablets, I shall attempt to make 


a few slight sketches, with the hope of gratifying the 
curious, and affording some little light to the antiquary ; 
though from the nature of my materials, I almost despair 
of amusing the general reader. 

In the first place, it may be inferred from the tone of 
the evidence already produced, that the primitive religion of 
the Cymry (long before the age of the oldest Bard who is 
now extant,) was a kind of apbstasy from the patriarchal 
religion, or a mere corruption of it. 

In the tradition of this people, I have remarked the local 
account of a vessel, from which they assert, that their pro- 
genitors sprung after a general deluge : I have noticed their 
exclusive claim to the universal patriarch of all nations ; I 
have observed, that their superstition strongly verged from 
all points, towards the history of the deluge, and toward? 
that system of theology, which Mr. Bryant denominates 
Arkite : I have shewn that they worshipped the patriarch, 
as a deity, though they had not forgotten, that he was a 
just and pious man : and \ think I have proved, that the 
Ceridwen of the Druids was as much the genim of the ark, 
as the Ceres and Isis of our great mythologist. 

If the Bards exhibit, together with this Arkite supersti- 
tion, that mixture of Sahian idolatry, or worship of the 
host of heaven, which the second volupie of the Analysis 
traces, as blended with the same mythology, over great 
part of the ancient world ; yet we observe, that the Solar. 
divinity is always represented as the third, or youngest of 
the great objects of adoration: hence it may be inferred, 
that the worship of the patriarch, in conjunction with the 
sun, was an innovation, rather, tlian an original and funda,- 
mental principle, of the Druidical religion. 


That this opinion was inculcated by our old mythologists, 
appears from a very singular triad, which I propose to 
analyze. But the reader of taste may require some apology, 
for the homeliness of its characters. 

Mythologists have never been very scriipulous in the se- 
lection of their figures. Gods and their priests have been 
presented to us, under the form of every animal character, 
from the elephant and the lion, to the insect and the rep- 
tile. And it is not to be expected, that our ancestors should 
have been more delicate in their choice, than other nations 
more enlightened and more refined. 

Without any such affectation of superior taste, they bring 
forward three distinct states pf the British hierarchy, but 
all of them more or less Arkite, under the characters of 
three mighty szeine herds. 

Their disciples, of course, consisted of a multitude of 
swine, I am not calling them names — these are the titles 
they thought proper to assume: and no doubt, they re- 
garded them as very respectable and becoming. 

Though this representation be partly peculiai* to the 
Britons, it has still, some analogy with the notions and 
the mythology of other heathens. 

Thus, we are told that the priests of the Cabiri were 
styled Sues — swine. Greece and Rome consecrated the 
soffl to" Ceres, and gave it the name of the myistical animal. 
The learned and ingenius M. De Gebelin says, that this 
selection was made, not only because the sow is a very pro- 
lific animal, but also, because she phws the grovnd, and 


because the plongli has a figure similar to that of her snotit, 
and produces the same effect.* 

The Cymry proceeded somewhat further, but still upon the 
same road. lu Britain, Ceres herself assumes the character 
of Hwch, a sow ; she addresses her child, or devotee, by the 
title of Forchellan, little pig ; her congregation are Mock, 
swine; her chief priest is Turch, a boar, or Gwydd Hwch, 
boar of the wood, or grove ; and her Hierarchy is Meichiad, a 
swine herd. 

The triad which I have mentioned, upon the subject of 
the three mighty swine herds, is preserved in several copies, ■{•" 
from a collation of which, I shall subjoin an English ver- 
sion, and add some remarks upon each particular. 

" The first of the mighty swine herds of the island of 
" Britain, was Pryderi, the son of Pwyll, chief of Annwn^ 
" who kept the swine of his foster-father, Pendaran Dyved, 
" in the vale of Cwch, in Emlyn, whilst his own father, 
« Pwyll, was in Annwn." 

In order to understand the meaning of this mythology, 
it will be necessary first of all, to take some notice of the 
persons and places here introduced, 

Pryderi, called also Gzcynvardd Dyved, was the son of 
Pwyll, Lord of Dyved, the son of Meirig, the son of Arcol, 

* Monde Primitif. Tom. IV. p. 679, 
t W. Arcliaiol. V. 11. p. 6. 20. 72. 77. 


with tbe long haad, the son of Pyr, or Pur of tHe East, 
the son of Llion the ancient.* 

Though the vanity of certain Welsh families, has in- 
scribed these princes in the first page of their pedigrees, it 
Would be absurd to connect their history with any known 
chronological period. It is purely mytliofe^cal, as ap- 
pears from the very import of their names. 

Pryderi is deep thought, or mature consideration : and the 
general subject of this thought may be collected from hi? 
other title — Gwynvardd Dyved — Dr.uid of Demetia. 

Pztyll, his father, is reason, discretion, prudence, or pa- 
tience^ That both the father and the son were characters, 
wholly mj'stica], or personifications of abstract ideas; is 
shewn in Taliesin's spoils of the deep,f where we are told, 
that the diluvian patriarch first ^entered the ark, by the 
counsel of Pwyll and Pryderi. 

Meirig is a guardian. In this series, the word ought to 
be translated, though it has been the proper name of seve- 
ral Britons. 

Ar-col may imply the man of the lofty mount; but as 
Arcol with the long hand, was avowedly of Eastern ex^ 
traction ; it is probable his name may have been of 
Eastern derivation : and if so, he may have been no less 
a personage than the great Hercules, v.ho was known in the 
East by similar titles, as we are informed by Mr. Bryant ; 

• Cambrian Biog. under the articles Fryitri, Fvyll, and Meirig. 
f Appendix, No, 3. 


who tells us, that in the neighbourhood Of Tyre and SKdoii^ 
the chief deity went by the name of Ourchol, the same as 
ArcJiel and Arcles of Egypt, whence came the Heracles and 
Hercules of Greece and Rome.* 

But the history of Hercules, as we learn from the same 
author, alludes to a mixture of Arkite and Sabian idolatry. 
— " It is said of Hercules, that he traversed a vast sea, in 
" a cup, or skiff, which Nereus,OT Oceanus sent him for 
" his preservation : the same history is given to Helius, (the 
" sun) who is said to have traversed the ocean in the same 
« vehicle." t 

If the critics can pardon an attempt to identify Areol, 
in the character of Hercules, I need not dread their cen* 
sure for supposing, that his father Pyr, or Pur of the East, 
is to be found amongst the known connexions of that 


Pyr is the Greek name ofjire, and mythologically of the 
sun, who was the same as Hercules. And the great ana- 
lyzer of mythology assures us, that Pur was the ancient 
name of Latian Jupiter, the father of Hercules ; that he 
was the deity of fire ; that his name was particularly retained 
amongst the people of Prseneste, who had been addicted 
to the rites of fire ; that they called their chief god Pur, 
and dealt particularly in divination by lots, termed of old, 

♦ Analysis, V. I. p. 40. 
+ Ibid. V. II. p. 404. 
% Ibid. V, I. p. 124. 


• From hence it may be conjectured, with some degree of 
probability, that this mystical family, which, was of JSas^erw 
origin, had a certain connexion with the history of Jupiter 
and Hercules. 

But lest we should lose sight of the fundamental prin- 
ciples of Arkite theology, our mythological herald takes 
care to inform us, that Pyr, of the East, was the son of 
Llion the Ancient, that is, the deluge, or the Diluvian god : 
for the waters of Llion are the great abyss, which is con- 
tained under the earth, and which once burst forth, and 
overwhelmed the whole world. 

This mythological pedigree, therefore, only declares the 
, Arkite origin of a certain mystical system, which wa^ in- 
troduced into Britain through the medium of some Eastern 

The characters here introduced, are represented as princes 
of Demetia, the country of Seithenin Saidi, who is Saturn 
or Noah. This region was so greatly addicted to mystical 
rites, that it was called, by way of eminence, Bro yr Hud, 
the land of mystery-, and said to have been formerly enve- 
loped in Llengil, a veil of concealment. 

But we are not immediately to conclude, that Pryderi 
conducted his swine, according to " the rules of his Eastern 
ancestors. These were not the property of his father and 
grandfather, but the herd of Pendaran, lord of thunder, 
otherwise called Arawn, the Arkite, and managed under his 
supreme administration. His authority was already esta- 
blished in the West, and, as we shall presently sec, it was 
different from that of Arcol, and Pyr Of the East. 

E S 


Pryderi kept the swine of his foster-father, Pmdaran, 
in the vale of Cwch, the boat, or ark, in Eml^n, the clear 
lake, whilst his own father, PwyU, was ia. Annwn, the deep 
— the deluge. 

I must leave the great swine-herd to the management of 
his charge, whilst I seek an elucidation of this mythology, 
from a curious tale upon the subject of Pwyll's adventures.* 

This tale manifestly alludes to Arkite theology; and I 
think, also, to the reformation of some foreign abuses, or 
innovations, which were intermixing with the doctrines and 
rites of the natives, and to the rejection of Sabian idolatry, 
or solar worship. 

The reader may judge for himself, by the following 
abstract : 

PwyU, lord of the seven provinces of Dyved, being at 
Arberth, Jiigh grove, one of his chief mansions, appoints a 
hunting party — that is, the celebration of mysteries: thus 
Ceridwen is said to have hunted the aspirant. 

The place whjch he chose for this exercise, was Glyn- 
CfflcA, the vale of the boat, or ark. Accordingly, he set out 
from Arberth, ^nd came to the head of the grove of Diar- 
wya, the solemn preparation of the egg. 

• Cambrian Register, V.I. p. 177, and V. II. p. 3Jg. From tht Red 
Sook of Jesis Col, Oxfordi -a MS. of the 14lh century. 


Pliny's account of the preparation of the Anguinum, by 
the Druids, in the character of serpents, js well known. 
Mr. Bryant also observes, that an egg was a very aftcient 
emblem of the ark; and that in the Dionusiaoa, and in 
other mysteries, one part of the nocturnal ceremony con- 
sisted in the consecration of an egg.* 

In this grove of the preparation of the egg, Pwyll con- 
tinued that night ; and early in the morning he proceeded 
to the vale of the boat, and turned out his dogs — priests, 
who were called Kuwj,f dogs — under the wood, or grove. 

He blew his horn — that is, the herald's horn — Thus Ta- 
liesin says — " I have been Mynawg, wearing a collar, with 
" my horn in my hand : he is not entitled fo the presidency, 
" who does not keep my word." J 

Pwyll, entering fully upon the chace, and listening to 
the cry of the pack, began to hear distinctly the cry of 
another pack, which was of a different tone from that of his 
own dogs, and was coming in an opposite direction. This 
alludes to some mystic rites, which essentially differed from 
those of his Eastern ancestors, Arcol and Pyr. 

The strange pack pursued a stag — the aspirant — into a 
level open spot — the adytum — in the centre of the grove, 
and there threw him upon the ground. Pwyll, without re- 
garding the stag, fixed his eyes with admiration upon the 

E £ 2 

• Analysis, V. II. p. 360. 

+ KbHej, 'oi Mamij. Schol. in Lycoph. V. 459. 

% Cadait Teyrn On. Appendix, No. 4. 


dogs> which were all of a shining white hue, with red ears, — 
Such is the popular notion of the Welsh, respecting the 
colour of Cwn Annwn, the dogs of the deep — a mystical 
transformation of the Druids, with their white robes and red 

The prince drives away the pack which had killed the 
stag, and calls his own dogs upon him — thus, initiating the 
aspirant into his own Eastern mysteries. 

Whilst he is thus engaged, the master of the white pack 
comes up, reproves him for his uncourtly behaviour, in- 
forms him that he is a king, wearing a crown, as sovereign 
lord of Annwn, the deep, and that his name is Ai-awn, the 
Arkite* — this is the personage who is also styled Pendaran 
— lo)-d of thunder. 

Pwjrll having expressed a wish to atone for his impru- 
dent oifence, and to obtain the friendship of this august 
stranger : 

" Behold, says Arawn, how thou mayest succeed in thy 
" wishes. There is a person whose dominion is opposite to 
" mine ; who makes war upon me continually : this is Havgan, 
" summershine, a king also of Annwn: by delivering me 
" from his invasions, which thou canst easily do, thou 
" shall obtain my friendship." 

This summeishine, who invades the dominions of thedi- 

* In the Cainbtian Register, Arawu is oddly translated, " of the silver 
■' tunguc." 'i'iie word may imply eloquence ; but cuusidcring his chaiacter> I 
rather think it comes <ro;u tl~)X, Aran, anni'/ci or ihest. 


luvian patriarch, can be no other than the Solar Diviniti/, 
whose rites had begun to^intermix with, and partly to super- 
sede the more simple Arkite memorials. — Here then, we 
have a direct censure of that monstrous absurdity, of ve- 
nerating the patriarch, in conjunction with the sun. Pwyll, 
or Reason, is represented as having destroyed this Apollo. 

It may be conjectured, however, from the works of the 
British- Bards, that he soon revived again, and claimed all 
his honours. 

But to go on with the story — It was proposed that 
Pwyll should assume the form oi Arawn; that he should 
immediately leave his own dominions, and proceed to 
Annwn, the deep, where he was to preside, in the character 
and person of the king, for a complete year. This must 
mean, that he was to be initiated into Arkite mysteries, or 
to pass through a representation of the same scenes, which 
the patriarch had experienced. — Thus Noah had presided in 
the ark, for precisely the same period, over the great deep, 
or the deluged world. 

On the day that should complete the year, Pwyll was to 
kill the usurper, Summe? shine, or the Solar Idol, with a 
single stroke ; and in the mean time, Arawn assumes the 
form of Pwyll, and engages to take his dominions under 
his special charge. 

It was during this year, of the mystical deluge, that 
Pi-yderi guarded the swine of his foster-father, Arawn, or 
Pendaran, in the vale of the boat. His herd, therefore, 
was purely Arkite. 

Pwyll, having determined, to engage in this great enter- 


prize, is conducted by the king to the palace of the deep — 
as Noah was conducted to the ark. — Being received by the 
whole court, without suspicion, he is attended in due form, 
by Arawn:*S ministers, and lodged in the royal bed — the 
n«ro; or cell of initiation — where he preserves an inviolate 
silence: and as a man, eminently just and upright, shews a 
wonderful instance of continence in his deportment towards 
the queen, who is the fairest woman iii the world, and sup- 
poses him to be her own husband.^ — Such were the trials of 
fortitude and self-government, to which the aspirants were 

On the appointed day, Pwyll kills the usurper. Summer- 
shine, and at the completion of the year, returns from the 
palace of the deep, into his own dominions, which he finds 
in an improved and rnost flourishing condition, under the 
administration of the great Arawn, with whom he contracts, 
a perpetual friendship. 

This part of the tale blends a mystical account of the 
deluge,".with the history of those mysteries ^yhich were ce- 
lebrated in memory of the great preservation. 

The prince being now re-established in his palace, at Ar- 
herth, or high grove, provided a banquet— or solemn sacri- 
fice — for himself and his retinue. After the first repast, the 
whole company walked forth to the top of the Gorsedd, or 
Seat of presidency, which stood above the palace. Such 
was the quality of this seat, that whoever sat upon it, should 
either receive a wound, or see a miracle, 

Pwyll, regardless of consequences, sat upon the mj'sti- 
cal seat : and presently, both the prince himself, and the 


\vhole of his retinue, tieheld a lady, motinted upon a horse 
of a pale bright colour, great, and very high. 

The lady herself wore a garment, glittering like gold, and 
advanced along the main road,- which led towards the Gor- 
sedd. Her horse, in the opinion of all the spectators, had 
a slow and even pace, and was coming in the direction of 
the high seat. 

The reader will have no difficulty in comprehending, that 
this splendid lady was the Iris, riding in her humid cloud ; 
and that she was coming from the court of Araren, upon a 
friendly errand. But as she was unknown to all the company 
now present, Pwyll sent a messenger to meet her, and learn 
who she was. One of his train rose up to execute the 
prince' s order; but no sooner was he come into the road, 
opposite to the fair stranger, than she passed by him. He 
pursued her on foot with the utmost speed: but the faster 
he ran, the more he was distanced by the lady, though she 
still seemed to continue the same gentle pace, with which 
she had set out at first. She was then followed by a mes- 
senger upon a fleet horse, but stiH without any better suc- 
cess. The same vain experiment was tried the next day. 

The prince now perceived, that there was a mystery in 
the appearance: yet, being persuaded, that the lady had 
business to communicate to some one in that field, and 
hoping that the honour of her commands might be reserved 
for himself, he gets ready his courser, and undertakes the 
enterprize on the third day. The lady appeared : the prince 
rode to meet her : she passed by him with a steady gentle 
pace ; he followed her a full speed, but to no purpose. — 
Then Pwyll said — 


The remainder of the story is lost; consequently, our 
curiosity, as to the adventures of Pvvyll and the mystical 
lady, cannot be gratified. 

But I have no doubt, that this lady in the splendid robe 
■was the rainbow, that sacred token of reconciliation, which 
appeared to Noah, after the deluge, and which was univer- 
sally commemorated in Gentile mythology. 

The mounting of her upon a horse, seems to have been 
a British device, thus, we are told in the mystical poem, 
called The Chair of Ceridwen, that Gwydion, Hermes, 
formed for the goddess of the rainbow a stately steed, upon 
the springing grass, and with illustrious trappings. 

The circumstance of the vain pursuit of this phaenome- 
non, which seemed to move so calmly and steadily along, 
may remind several of my readers of a childish adventure 
of their own., Many a child has attempted to approach 
the rainbow, for the purpose of contemplating its beauty. 

Upon the whole it is evident, that though the transcriber 
of this ancient tale may have introduced some touches of 
the manners of bis own age, yet the main incidents faith- 
fully delineate that Arkite Inythology, which pervades the 
wriitings of the primitive Bards ; at the same time that they 
pass a severe censure upon solar worship, as a corrupt in- 

Having taken this view of the great swine-herd, Pryderi, 
or deep thought, I pro'ceed to consider the adventures of the 
next in order, where we shall have some hints of tlie 
channel, by which this innovation of Sabian idolatry was 


The learned author of the Mysteries of the Cabiri, gives 
me an opportunity of prefixing a few hints, which may 
Berve to keep our British mythologists in countenance. 

Having remarked from Tacitus, that the Estyi, a people 
of Germany, worshipped the mother of the gods, and that 
the symbol which they used was, a boar, Mr. Faber thus 

" Rhea, or the mother of the gods, as it has been abun- 
" dantly shewn, was the same as Ceres, Venus, Isis, or 
" Derceto. She wprs, in short, the ark of Noah, from 
" which issued all the hero-gods of paganism. With re- 
" gard to the boar, used by this German tribe as an em- 
" blem, we find it introduced very conspicuously into 
" many of those legendary traditions, which relate to the 
" great event of the deluge. It appears to have been one 
",of the symbols of the ark, although not adopted so 
" generally as the mare, or the heifer. In the first Hindoo 
" Avatar, Vishnou assumes the form of a fish ; and in the 
" third, that of a boar, when he is represented as emerging 
" from the midst of the ocean, and supporting the world 
" upon his tusks. Both these incarnations, as well as the 
" second, are supposed by Sir William Jones to allude to 
^' the history of the flood; whence, as we have already 
" seen that a,_fish was emblematical of the ark, it is not 
" unreasonable to conclude, that the boar may be so like- 
" wise. Accordingly, in the account which Plutarch gives 
"us of the Egyptian Osiris, he mentions, that Typhon, or 
" the deluge, being in pursuit of one of those animals, 
" found the ark, which contained the body of Osiris, and 
" rent it asunder." * 

♦ Myst, of the Cabiri, V. I. p. 820. 


The authoi" subjoins the following note : 

" Perhaps, if the ijiatter be expressed with perfect accu- 
" racy, we ought rather to say, that a boar was symbolical 
"of Noah, and a sow of the ark. Hence we find, that as 
" Vishaou was fpigned to have metamorphosed himself 
" into a boar, so the nurse of Arkite Jupiter, or in other 
" words, the Noetic ship, is said by Agathocles to have been 
" a sow."* 

" Coll, the son of Colhrewi — Rod, the ion of Rod of 
" terrors, guarded Henwen — old lady, the sow of Dallwyr 
" Dallben — mystagogue, chief of mystics, in the vale of 
" Dallzvyr — mystics, in Cornwall. The sow was big with 
" young ; and as^it had been prophesied, that the island of 
" Britain would suffer detriment from her progeny, Arthur 
" collected the force's of the country, and went forth for the 
" purpose of destroying it. The sow, in the mean time, 
" being about to farrow, proceeded as far as the promon- 
" tbry of Land's-end, in Cornwall, where she put to sea, 
" with the swine-herd after her. And she first came to 
" land at Aber Tarrogi, in Gwent Is Coed, her guardian 
'' still keeping hold of the bristles, wherever she wandered, 
, " by land or sea. 

",At Wheatfeld, in Gwent, she laid three grains of wheat, 
" and three bees: hence, Gwent is famous to this day for 
" producing the best wheat and honey. 

Agath, apwJ Allien. Deipnos, Lib. IX. p. 375. 


" From Gwent, she proceeded to Dyved ; and in Llonnio 
" Llomven, the pleasant spot of the tranqml lady, laid a 
« grain of barley, and a pig: and the barley and swin£ of 
" Dyved are become proverbial. 

" After this, she goes towards Arvon, and in Lleyn she 
" laid a grain of rye.: since which time, the best rye is pro- 
" duced in Lleyn and Eivionydd. 

" Proceeding from thence, to the vicinity of the cliif of 
" CyverthwQh,_ in Eryri, she laid the cub of a wolf, and 
" an eaglet. Coll gave the eagle to Brymch, a Northern 
" Gwyddelian prince, of Dinas 4ff(fraon, and the present 
" proved detrimental to him. Tlje wplf was given to Men- 
" waed, lord of Arllechwedd. ^ 

" These were the wolf of Menwaed, and the eagle of Bry- 
" nach, which, in after times became so famoys. 

" From hence, the sow went to , the black stone in Arvon, 
" under which she laid a kitten, which CoU threw from the 
" top of the stone into the Menai. The sons of Palm, in 
" Mona, took it up, and nursed it, tb their own injury. 
" This became the celebrated Paluc cat, one of the three 
" chief molesters bf Mona, which were nursed within the 
" island. The second of these molestors was Daronwy ; and 
" the third was Edwin, the Northumbrian king." 

I should not have exhibited this fantastical story, were I 
not persuaded that it contains some important tradition 
respecting the progress of superstition in' our country, of 
which no other account is to be found aiOd tliat the great- 
est part of it may be explained. 


Before we attend to the mystical sow, and her ill-omened 
progeny, it may be proper to take some notice of her 

Rod, the son of the rod of terrors, or of religious awe, 
the hero of this singular tale, cannot be regarded as an 
individual person. He is an ideal charactei;, implying a 
principal agent, or the aggi'egate of agents, in conducting 
a particular mode of superstition. 

Coll is repeatedly mentioned in the mythological Triads. 
He is there classed with the great deified patriarch, Hu 
Gadarn, as one of three personages, who conferred distin- 
guished benefits upon the Cymry nation. He has the 
credit of having first introduced wheat and barley into 
Britain, where only rye and oats had been known before his 
time.* Hence it appears, that he must have been a great 
favourite of Ceres, the goddess of cultivation. 

He is again brought forwards, as one of the three great 
presidents of mysteries.-)- And here, we must regard his 
doctrine and institutes, as comprehending the mystical theo- 
logy and rites, which prevailed in a certain age, or over 
certain districts of these islands. 

From a collation of the passages in which this notice 
occurs, it may be deduced, that there had been three dis- 
tinct modes, or stages of mysticism, amongst the Britons. 

That of Menu, the son of the three loud calls, and of 

• W. ArchaioI.V. II. p. 67. 
+ Ibid. p. r, n, 77. 


Vthyr Bendragon, or the wonderful supreme leader, was the 
first of these. 

That of Coll, the son of Collvrezei, and of Eiddilic Corr, 
or Gwyddelin Corr, constituted the second : and this agreed 
with the mode of Rhuddlwm Gawr, or the red, bony 

And that of Math, the son of Mathonwy, Drych eil 
Cibddar, and Gxvydion ah Don was the third. 

The first of these modes or stages, I suppose to have 
been that corruption of the patriarchal religion, or the 
more simple Arkite theology, which originally prevailed 
amongst the Cymry, and of which we have alread}' had . 
some hints, under the characters of Pwyll and Pryderi. 

As to the second; when we recollect, that Coll first 
began the superintendance of his mystical sow in Cornwall, 
which either was one of the Cassiterides of the ancients, or 
efee certainly carried on an intercourse with those tin 
islands, it may be conjectured, that the red bony giant, the 
original introducer of this superstition, and who is repre- 
sented as the uncle and mystical preceptor of Coll, was no 
other than the Phanician, or red merchant, half Canaanite, 
and half Edomite, who traded with the tin islands. And 
as this became the system of Corr, the Coraniad, or Bel- 
gian, and also of Gwyddelin, the Gwyddelian, whom our 
writers regard as of the same family with the other, it 
appears to be the meaning of the Triads, that the Belg» 
of Britain and Ireland adopted the mode of this stranger. 
Of the introduction of the same mysticism into Wales, 


and immediately from Cornwall, we have a more detailed 
accoiint in the adventures of Coll and his wonderful sow. 
This superstition contained memorials of the deluge ; but it 
verged more strongly towards Sabian idolatry. 

The third mode, namely> that of Math, Drych, and 
Gwydion, seems to have been a mixture of the two former; 
that is, of the superstition of the original Cymry, and the 
more idolatrous rites of the PhcEnicians : or that confijsion 
of principles which we find in the old British Bards, and 
which Mr. Bryant has detected amongst many ancient 

Coll is, then, the great agent in the adventitious branch 
of the Druidical religion. 

Having thus seen what is mSant by his character, we 
will prodeed to the history of his sow : and we shall find, 
that however absurd it may be in the literal sense, great 
part of it will admit of explanation upon mythological 

The name of this mystical animal was HSnwen, old Iddy, 
a proper title for the great mother, Da-Mater, or Ceres, to 
whom the sow was sacred. But Ceres, or thd' great mother, 
as Mr. Bryant has proved, was the genius of the ark. 
Agreeably to this decision, it has occurred to our country- 
men, that under this allegory of a sow, we must understand 
the history of a ship. Upon the story of Coll Mid his mys- 
tical charge, Mr. Owen remarks, that under this extraor- 
dinary recital, there seems to be preserved the record of 
the appearance of a strange ship on the cosists, under the 
appellation of a sow : and that it was probably a Phamician 


ship, which imported into the island the various things here 

And again in his Dictionary, under the word Hwch, a 
sow, the same author tells us — " It has been also used as an 
" epithet for a ship, for the same reason as Banw is applied 
" to a pig, and to a coffer; the abstract meaning of the 
" word being characteristic of the form of both. There is 
" a tradition in Monmouthshire, that the first corn sown 
" in Wales was at Maes Gteenith, Wheatfield, in that 
" county, and was brought there by a ship; which, in a 
" Triad alluding to the same event, is called Hwch" — that 
is, a sow. , I 

That this tale alludes to the history of a sMp or vessel, 
there can be no doubt : and we first hear of its being in 
Cornwall, that part of Britain which is supposed to have 
had a peculiar intercourse with the Phoenicians. 

But, in a literal sense, wolves and eagled must have been 
very useless, as well as unnecessary, articles of importation 
to the ancient Britons. This was a sacred ship. Its cargo 
consisted, not in common merchandise, but in religious 
symbols and apparatus. And there is every reason to con- 
elude, that it was itself a symbol of the ark. 

I have already observed, that the name of ' this mystical 
vehicle, old lady, was a proper epithet for the great mother 
—the ark. 

The depositing of the various kinds of grain, points- to 

» Carob. Biog. V. Coll. 


the office of Ceres, who was the genius of the ark ; to the 
British Ked, who passed through the deluge, stored mtk 
corn; and to the character of Ceridwen, who is styled 
Ogyroen Amhad, the goddess of various seeds, and whose 
mysteries were Arkite. 

The whimsical use of the verh dodwi, to lay, as a hen 
lays her eggs, when. applied to the parturition of the mys- 
tical sow, or s}dp, cannot be accounted for, till we recol- 
lect, that our Arkite goddess is styled and described as a 

And this symbolical sow, like the Argo of antiquity, 
proceeds by land, as well as by sea, attended by her mys- 
tical priest. 

The place from whence she began her progress, and the 
persons to whom she belonged, with equal clearness point 
out her mythological character. For this sow, we are told, 
was the property of Dallwyr, the blind men, or Murai of 
Dallben, the mystagogue; and was guarded in Glyti Dall- 
wyr, the glen, or ^a/e, of the mystics, in Cornwall. 

To this spot she had been confined during a considerable 
period; for the Britons were aware of her being there, and 
were jealous of the innovations whi9h she might introduce. 
Hence the old prophecy, that Britain would be injured by 
her progeny. She was, therefore,, of foreign extraction ; 
and the doctrines and rites of her priests differed from the 
more simple religion of the natives. Wherefore, as soon 
as she began to propagate, or produce converts in the coun- 
try, the mythological Arthur, the mystical head of the 
native, and hitherto patriarchal religion, collected the forces 


of the island, in order to exterininate her race ; but the de* 
sign proved abortive — tlie novel system gained ground. 

Let us now consider the various deposits of this mystical 

The first consisted df three grains of wheaty and a Triad 
of bees. The wheat, every one knows to be the fruit of 
Ceres : and in Britain, the person who aspired td the mys-* 
teries of that goddess, was transformed into a mystical 
grain of piire wheat. And as to the bees of mythology, 
the great analyzer of ancient tradition proves, from a mul- 
titude of circumstances^ that the Melissa, or bees, were 
certainly female attendants in the Arkite templesi* 

The appropriation of this title to the priestesses of Certs, 
Mr. Bryant, as usual, attributes to an error of the Greeks 
in the interpretation of a foreign term. If th\s be allowed, 
the same blunders constantly pervading the sacred vocabu- 
laries of the Greeks and Britons, might be insisted upon 
as arguments, that the latter borrowed their theology im- 
mediately from the former, which I think was not the case 
in generaL The history of the provident bee, the architect 
of her own commodious cell, in which she weathers out the 
destructive winter^ might supply another reason for making 
her the. symbol of an Arkite priestess. 

But passing over our author's etymologies, and taking 
along with us his historical deductions, it will appear, that 
the sacred ship which bi-ought the bees, was a representa- 

F E 

♦ An»ly3is, V. U. p^ 33r. 


tive of the ark. For the same distinguished writer, who 
first proved that Ceres was the genius of the ark, has also 
shewn, that she was styled Melissa, or the bee, and that the 
Melissa; were her priestesses. 

So that in this British tale, we have the record of an 
Arkite temple, founded in Monmouthshire by a colony of 
priests, which came from Cornwall, with an establishment 
of three Arkite ministers. 

The grain of barley, and the pig, or one of her own 
species, which the mystical sow- deposited in the pleasiint 
spot of the tranquil lady, in Demetia, or Pembrokeshire, 
amounts to nearly the same thing. 

The next remarkable deposit, consisted in the cuh of a 
wolf, a,nd the eaglet. 

The wolf of mythology, according to Mr. Bryant, re- 
lated to the worship of the sun.* The eagle also, he tells 
us, was one of the insignia of Egypt, and was particularly 
sacred to the sun. It was called Ait, or Aeto?; and Homer 
alludes to the original meaning of the word, when he terms 
the eagle Aieto? ai9(<)».-f- 

Hence it appears, that the Arkite mysteries of this old 
lady were intimately blended with an idolatrous worship of 
the sun — that usurper, whom we have seen the great Arawn 
king of the deep, so anxious to remove. 

• Analysis V, I, p. 78. 
+ Ibid, p. 19. 


The eagle and the wolf were deposited in Eri/n, or Snow- 
don; and Coll is said to have presented the former to a 
Northern prince, and the latter to a lord of Arllechwedd : 
which must he understood to mean, that these symbols of 
solar worship were introduced from Cornwall, by a circui- 
tous route, into the regions of Snowdon, and from thence 
into North Britain, and Arllechwedd. 

The place where the eagle and wolf were deposited, de- 
serves attention. It was qn the top of Rhizv Gyxierthwch 
the panting cliff, in Snowdon, and in a structure called 
Dinas Affaraon, or Pharaon, the citi/ of the higher powers.* 
The scite was upon the road from the promontory of Lleyn, 
to that part of ^he coast which is, opposite to Mona, foi 
the mystical sow takes it in her way.^ Hence it seems to 
have been the same which is now known by the name of 
Y Ddinas, the city, thus described by the Annotator upon 

" On the top of Penmaen, stands a lofty and impreg- 
" nable hill, called Braich y Ddinas (the ridge of the city), 
" where we find the ruinous walls of an exceeding strong 
" fortification, encompassed with a triple wall ; and within 
" eacA wall, the foundation of, at least, a, hundred towers, 
" all round, and of equal bigness, and about six yards dia- 
" meter within the walls. The walls of this Dinas were, in 
" most places, two yards thick, and in some about three. 
" This castle seems, while it stood, impregnable, there 
" being no way to offer any assault to it ; the hill being so 

F F 2 

* Pharaon seems to be the Britisli name of the Cabiri , their priests, called 
Fheryll, were skilled in metallurgy, and are said to have possessed certain 
books upon mysterious subjects. 


" very high/ steep, and rocky, and the walls of socb 

" strength. At the summit of this rock, within the'irt- 

" nermost Wall, there is a well, which affords plenty t)f 
" water in the dryest summer. — —The greatness of the 
" work, shews that it was a princely fortification, strength- 
" ened by nature and workmanship, seated on the top of 
" one of the highest mountains of that part of Snowdon, 
" which lies towards the sea."* 

The temple of Ceres, in the GytylcU, is only about the 
distance of a mile from this place. This stately pilel, which 
has left no other local memorial of its greatriess, but the 
emphatical name — " The city," mnst have been, as I cont- 
jecture, the celebrated Dinas Phar'don, in the rocks of 
Snowdon, which had also the name of Dinas Emrys, or 
the amhrosial city. This was famous, not only for the wolf 
and eagle, which were deposited by the mystical sow, but 
also for certain dragons,-^ which appeared in the time of 
Beli, the son of Manhogan, or, as we are otherwise told, 
in the time of Prydain, the son of Aedd the Greaf% — that 
is, in the age of the solar divinity. In this Dinas, the dra- 
gons were lodged by a son of Belt, or child of the sun; and 
the destiny of Britain was supposed to depend upon the due 
concealment of the mystery .§ 

» Gitson's Camden Col. 801. 
+ W. Archaiol. V. II. p. 39, 65. 

t Beli i3.,represeiitecl as the father of the brave CasihtUammSt and iTie son of 
Manhogan, radiated with splendour. But Beli and Prydain are titles of the 
Helio-arkite divinity. See Append. No. 11, where he is addressed by both 
tliese names, 

$ W. Archaiol. V. II. p. 9, 11, 66, 78. 


As to these dragons, the reader has seen that they were 
harnessed in the car of the British, as well as of the Greek 
Ceres: ani more than this, their general connexion with 
solar superstition is acknowledged by the Welsh them- 
selves:* hence it appears, that the old ladi/, wbo wandered 
from the mystic vale in Cornwall, to the regions of Snowdon, 
imported a mixture of Arhite and Sabian idolatry. 

But let us come to the last deposit , of the rnystical sow, 
namely, the kitten, which was laid under the black stone, . 
that is, in a cell, or Kistvaen, in Arvon, from whence the 
mystagogue cast it into the Menai. It was taken up out 
of this .strait, or river, and became the Paliic cat of Mona. 

Isis, the Arkite goddess, was sometimes represented un- 
der the figure of a cat, because that animal, by the volun- 
tary dilatation and contraction of the pupils of its eyes, 
imitates the phases of the moon, which was also a symbol 
of Isis: and Mr. Bryant thinks, that the very names of 
Menai and Mona have a pointed reference to the worship of 
the lunar Arkite goddess. 

But Paiuc cat is spoken of as a large and fierce creature, 
of the feline kind. Mr. Owen thinks it was a ti/ger. It is 
often mentioned, as one of the molestations of Mona; and 
as all the symbols imported by the mystical sow, were 
regarded as pernicious innovations, by those who adhered 
to the primitive religion of their country, the destroying of 

• Thus Mr. Owen, in his Dictionary, explains the word^" braig, a 

** geiierative prmcipU, or procrsator; a fiery serpent; atiragon; tho supreme, 
" Dreigiau, silent lightnings. In tlie mythology of the priinilive world, the 
" ^erpent is universally the symbol of the sun, under various appellations, 
" but jof the same import as the Draig, Mm, Addm ; Bel and Bil amonjjst, Ure 


tills cat was esteemed a meritorious act. Though it is 
described as an animal, it seems to have been only an idol, 
and attended by foreign ministers. Taliesln calls it Cath 
Vraith, the spotted cat, and thus denounces its fate — 

Ys trabluddir y Gath Vraith 
A'i hanghy vieithon * — 

" The spotted cat shall be disturbed, together with her 
" men of a foreign language." 

It should seem, from another passage, to have been a 
symbol of the sun : for Taliesin, who often speaks in the 
person and character of that luminary, mentions as one 
of his transfonnations — 

Bum Cath Benfrith ar driphren-f- 

" I have been a cat with a spotted head, upon a tripod." 

Upon the whole, we may suppose it to have been the 
figure of some animal of the cat kirld, which was deemed 
sacred, either to the Helio-arkite god, or the Lunar-arkite 
goddess, or to both, as it was a male and k female ;% and 
therefore, at all events, a symbol of the mixed superstition. 

But as Coll, the guardian of the old lady, learned his 
mystic lore from the red giant, who resided in a nook of 
Cormcall, a region which had early intercourse with stran- 

* W. Archaiol. p. rS. 

t Ibid. p. 41. 

\ Cath Vraith, and Catli Ben Vrilh. 


gers, particularly with the PJeanician, or red nation; as the 
Britons had been jealous of the mystical sow, or sacred ship, 
which introduced the symbols here enumerated ; and as the 
wolf, the eagle, and the cat are mentioned with disappro- 
bation, as things which proved injurious to those who 
received them, I conclude that these symbols, and the ido- 
latry which they implied, were oi foreign growth, and did 
liot pertain to the religion of the primitive British nation. 

Having now dismissed Coil and his old lady, I proceed 
to consider the history of the third mighty swineherd, who 
is better known to the reader of English romance by the 
name of Sir Tristram. 

" The third swineherd was Trystan, proclaimer, the son 
" of Tallwch, the overwhelming, who kept the swine of 
" March, the horse, the son of Meirchiawn, the Tiorses of 
" justice, whilst the swineherd was carrying a message to 
" Essyllt, spectacle, to appoint an assignation with her. 

" In the mean time, Arthur, March, Cai, and JBedwyr, 
" went forth a,gainst him upon a depredatory expedition. 
" But they failed in their design of procuring as much as 
" a single pig, either by donation, by purchase, by strata- 
" gem, by force, or, by stealth. " 

" These were called the mightyswineherds, because nei- 
" ther stratagem nor force could extort from them one of 
" the swine which were under their care, ^nd which they 


f' restored, together with the full increase of the herd, to 
<' their right owners."* 

This story also describes the meddling with some foreign 
mysteries, which had been introduced into Cornwall, and 
from thence extended into other districts : but these mys- 
teries were regarded as unlawful and depraved ; for the in- 
tercourse of Trystaij with his mistress, Essyllt, was both 
adulterous and incestuous. As I have hinted above, it seems 
to allude to the incorporation of the primitive religion of 
the Britons with the rites of the Phaniciafi sow. 

By the character of Tristan, we are to understand, as 
his name import;s, a herald of mysteries : and hence a re- 
presentative of the mystical system, which prevailed at a 
certain period, or in a certain state of the British hie- 

The memorials of this character in the mythological 
Triads, are many and various. 

We are told, that of the three heralds of the island of 
Britain, the first was Greidiawl, the ardent, or, as he is 
otherwise called, Grpgon Gwron, the severely energetic, he- 
rald of Envael, the acquisition of life, the son of Adran, 
second distribution. The second herald was Gwair Gwrhyd-. 
mzor, renovation of great energy: and the third was Trystan, 
,the proclaimer, the son of Tallwch, the overwhelming — that 
is, the deluge. Arid it is added, that such was the privilege 
of these heraWs, that nonecould resist their authority ii^ 
the island of Britain, without becoming outlaws.f 

■ ^ ^ , r-T— It 

* W. Archaiol. V. II. p. 6, ;?0, 72, 77, • 

t Ibid, p. 5, 63, 77, 


The very names and connexions of these heralds declare, 
that eadh of their modes was Arkite, or referable to the his- 
tory of the deluge, whatever they, may have included be- 
sides ; and their autliority is precisely the same which Caesar 
assigns. to the Druidical chair. 

We have, in the next place, some intimation of the 
dignity with which these characters supported their 
high office, when we are told, that of the three diademed 
chiefs of the island of Britain, the first was Huail, vice- 
gerent of Hu, the son of Caw, the inclosure, also called 
Gwair, renovation, the son of. Gwestyl, the great tempest. 
The second was Cai, association, the son of Cynyn Cov, 
the origin of memorial, surnamed Cainvarvog, or with the 
splendid beard: and the third was Trystan, the son of 
Tallwch, And Bedwyr, Phallus, the son of Pedrog, the 
quadrangle, wore his diadem, as presiding over the three.* ^ 

After this, we are informed of the constancy and resolu- 
tion with which the authority and dignity of these cha- 
racters were asserted. For Eiddilic Corr, the same as Coll; 
Gwair ^A Trystan, were the three determined personages, 
whom no one could divert from their purpose.-j- 

Trystan is again introduced as hierophant ; for the three 
knights, who had the conducting of mysteries in the court 
of the mythological Arthur, were Menu, son of Teirg^ 
waedd, or the three loud calls, Trystan, the son of Tallwch, 
fl,nd Cai, the son of Cynyn, with the splendid beard. J 

* W. Archaiol. V. II. p. 5, 
t + Ibid. p. 19, 69, 

} Ibi4. p. go. 

442 _ 

From these particulars it may be collected, that Trystan 
is a personification of the great moving power, in the reli- 
gious establishment of the Britons, during a certain period 
of their history: and hence it niay be inferred, that his 
amorous intercourse with Essyllt, spectacle, the wife, other- 
wise called the daughter, of March, horse, the son of Meir- 
fhiawn, his uncle,* is to be imderstood in a mystical sense. 

We also read of Trystan, the son of this March, who 
seems to be the same personage, and is ranked with iJ/ty- 
hawt eil Morgant, the son of Adras, and Dalldav, mysta- 
gogue, the son of Cynin Cot), principle of memorial, as a 
compeer in the court of the mythological Arthur.f 

Such being the mystical character of Trystan, let us now 
look for the owner of the herd which he superintended, 
and the husband or father of Essyllt, his beautiful pa- 

This personage was a prince of some part of Cornwall ; 
and his singular name Horse, the son of the horses of jus- 
tice, must undoubtedly be referred to the Hippos, or horse 
of the ancient mythologists, which Mr. Bryant proves to 
have meant the ark. He imputes the name, as usual, to an 
error of the Greeks : but it is strange, that these errorsr 
sliould be constantly and accurately translated into the lan- 
guage of our British forefathers. 

But let us hear our learned author. 

* W. Archaiol. p. 13, 73. 
+ Ibid. p. 19s n, 80. 


" I cannot help surmising, that the horse of Neptune 
" was a mistaken emblem; and that the ancierits, in the 
" original history, did not refer to that animal. What the 
" "lOTBros alluded to in the early mythology, was certainly a 
" Jloat, or ^hip ; the same as the Ceto (the ark) : for, in 
" the first place, the Ceto was -denominated Hippos : 
" 'iOTiro», TOK fisyat fia^«{;io» ix^vt, i. e. the Ccto, or whale. Se- 
" condly, it is remarkable, that the Hippos was certainly 
" called 2!£»ipios xai sku^mj.* I therefore cannot help think- 
" ing, that the supposed horse of Neptune, as it has so 
" manifest a relation to the Ceto and the Scyphus, mnst 
" have been an emblem of the like purport; and that it 
" had, originally, a reference to the same history, to which 
" the Scyphus and Ceto related (that is, the ark). The 
" fable of the horse certainly arose from a misprision of 
" terms, though the mistake be as old as Homer. The 
" goddess Hippa is the same as Hippos, and relates to the 
" same history. Therfe were many, symbols of an horse. 
" The history of Pegasus, the winged horse, is probably 
" of the same purport. So does Palsephatus, a judicious 
" writer, interpret it — "om/a* J' tii/ tb imT^na, ntiyajo?. This Hip- 
" pos was, in consequence, said to have been the offspring 
" of Poseidon and 'Da-mater."-^ 

The March, or horse of the British mythoIpgists> must evi- 
dently be referred to the same Arkite history, which is here 
intimated by Mr. Bryant : and not only so, but also, as I 
shall prove in the course of this section, the horse was, 
amongst our ancestors, a favourite symbol of a sacred 

* Schol. in Lycoph. V. 766; 
+ Analysis, V. II. p. 408. 


The mystical Prince of Cornwall is styled the son of the 
horses of justice; probably, with allusion to the just patri- 
arch : and, in order the more forcibly to mark his cha- 
racter, he is represented as a master of ships, and, in this 
capacity, classed with Gwenwynwyn, thrice fair, the son 
of Nav, the lord, a title of the Diluvian patriarch ; and 
with Geraint ab Erbin, vessel of the high chiefs.* 

And as March was a mystical character, we must also 
search the Bardic pedigree for the lady, whetherhis wife 
or his daughter, of whom Trystan was so greatly ena- 

We are told, that the three unchaste matroijs, of Drui- 
dical mystery, were daughters of one father, namely, Cut 
Vanawyd Frydain, which implies, the person occupying the 
narrow spot, in the waters of Britain. This very title has 
an aspect to Arkite mystery. The Diluvian god, or sacred 
bull, had his residence in such a spot.f 

The first of these three sisters was Essyllt, spectacle, sur- 
named Vyngwen, or with the white mane, the concubine of 
Trystan, the herald, the son of Tallzech, the deluge. 

The second was Penarwen, the lady with the splendid 
head, the wife of Owen, the son of Urien.+ 

* W. Archaiol. Y- II. p. 5, 13, 68. 

There was a prince called Geraint ah Erhin, ia the heginning of the sixth 
centiery : but tlie name itself is boMowed from mythology, and the Geraint gf 
the Welsh tales is a mystical character, — 

See Ed. Llwyd's Archa;ol. p. 265. 

+ See the second section of this Essay, 

% The character assigned to this prince in the Welsh tales is mythologicsi}. 


Th^ thil'd sister was Bun, the maid Kopti, the wife of the 

It is pretty clear, that these three daughters of Ma- 
nazoyd, refer to three mystical modes of the same origin, 
and allArkite: and, I think, the reason why they are de-' 
scribed as unchaste, was, either because they were commu- 
nicated to persons of different nations, or because they in- 
chided some foreign and adulterated rites, which had not 
been acknowledged by the more simple religion of. the 
primitive Bards. 

Our present business is only with Essyllt, whose name 
Spectacle, or subject of steady contemplation, manifestly im- 
plies some mystical exhibition. And as she was the wife of 
the Imrse, so she is described as having a white mane. She 
was, therefore, a mare ; but the aspirant, Taliesin, saw the 
British Ceres in the form of a proud and wanton mare; 
Mr. Bryant also acknowledges Hippa, the mare, as one of 
the most ancient goddesses of the gentile world, and parti- 
cularly informs us, that the Arkite Ceres was distinguished 
by that title, and that even hex priestesses were called Hip- 
pai, mai-es.f 

He seems to have occupied a distinguished place in the mystical drama. — See 
the story told of him and the lady of the fountain. 

In the red book of Jesus College, Oxford, it is mentioned by Ed. Llwyd. 
Archa;ol. p. gei). 

« W. Arehaiol. V. II. p. 14. 73. 

Ida, the Northumbrian King, is supposed to be described, tinder the name 
of Flamebearet. If such be the meaning of the term in this passage, t should 
conceive that Bun may allude to the mysteries of Jaxs^ which Tacitus ' re- 
marked amongst the ancient Germans, and whicl\.this pagan prince Kiay haVe 
celebrated in Britain. 

t Apalysis, V. II. p, 27-, &c. ' 


. Hence we perceive, that it was of this goddess and her 
sacred rites, that our British Herald and Mystagogue was 
so deeply enamoured : and that the herd, which he super- 
intended, consisted of her priests and votaries. 

Here it may be remarked, that the character of Trystan 
seems to refer to a period somewhat more recent than that 
of Coll : for the former was entrusted with the care of the 
mystical sow, before she had farrowed, or produced vataries 
npon British ground : but here, the pigs are already pro- 
duced and multiplied, though they are still objects of per- 
secution, to the mystical Arthur and his heroes, or the 
hierarchy of the native Britons. It may also deserve notice, 
that Coll is uniformly described as a foreigner, who intro- 
duced something into Britain, but Trystan was a natiVe, 
and of some mystical eminence, before he tampered witb 
the swine, or the consort of the Cornish horse. 

The notices which the triads have preserved, upon the 
subject of the celebrated Trystan, are undoubtedly, ab- 
stracts of some old mystical tales, which were current 
amongst the early Britons. And although the tales which 
more immediately regarded the character now before us, 
have disappeared in the Welsh language, it is evident ihat 
they must have existed, and that they formed the basis of 
certain romantic histories, of the famous knight. Sir Tris- 
tram, which are still extant in French and Ejiglish. 

Of these, the Metrical Romance, written by Thomas, of 
Mrcilioune, and lately published by Mr. Scott, from the 


Auchinleck MS. is worthy of special notice, as having pre- 
served much genuine British mythology, though blended 
with the fanciful embellishments of the thirteenth century. 
I shall, therefore, remark a few pa;rticulars of the stbry. 

This author changes the name of Trystan, the proclaimer, 
into Tristrem, and ^fem Trist, which in the AVelsh lan- 
guage implies a ®o^/m/ countenance ; a designation too whim- 
.sical to have escaped the notice of the humourous Cer- 
vantes, who probably had seen this romance in French or 

The father of Sir Tristrem is here called Rouland, which 
seems to be a mere French translation of his British name 
Tallwch, and the Irish Tuileach, a rolling or overwhelming 

His mother is Blanche Flow, the white fiower, the sister 
of King Mark, who is the March or horse of the Triads. 
This lady is certainly the lovely Flur of British mythology, 
of whom the illustrious Cassivellaunus was so deeply ena- 
moured, that he undertook an expedition into Gaul, at- 
tended by the gods of Britain, in order to redress her 
wrongs ; and by this act, provoked the resentment of Julius 

The character of Flur imports that token, or pledge of 
union, amongst th^ "professors 6f Druidism vrbich in- 

* W. Archaiol. V. 11. p. 3. 10. 13. 60. 

Caswallon, the son of Beli was attended by Gwenviynwyn, thrice fair, and 
Cwanar, the ruler, who were sons of Lli-aws, impeller rf the icaiies, son of 
■Nwyvre, the firmament, by Arianrhod, goddess of the siijie^ wheel (the Iti») 
daughter of Beli, th« sun. 


duced the Britons to assist their brethern of Gaul, as re- 
lated by Caesar, and thus furnished that great commander 
with a pretext for the invasion of this Island. 

The emblematical Fliir or flower, which this fraternity 
exhibited, was, I imagine, that of the white trefoil or 
shamrock. This was a sacred plant amongst the Bards,* 
displaying the mysterious three in one, the great secret in- 
culcated by the vgry form of their Triads and Tribanau. 
Hence we are told, that wherever their goddess Olwen, 
the great mother) trod upon the ground, four white tre- 
foils immediately sprung up.-f- 

Flur is the daughter of Mygnacli, a mystical character, 
the son of Mydnaw, the mover of the ship. In a dialogue 
which he holds with Taliesin, he comes forward like Arawtf, 
the king of the deep, with his white dogs, or ministering 
Druids ; his residence is in Caer Seen, in the mystic island, 
and tile chief of the Bards reveres his Gorsedd or throne, ± 

By the birth of Sir Tristrem, from the rolling flood, and 
the symbol of union, the original narrator seems to have 
implied, that he was a legitimate son of the Arkite 
religion. /■ 

After the untimely death of these, his natural parents, 

• See the poem called the Chan nf Taliesin- 

Every leaf of this plant is naturally impressed with a pale figure of a crescents 
which was also a sacved symbol amongst the Druids, and other heathens. 

+ Owen's Cam. Biog, V. Olwen. 

From MoiU, the name of this plant, we may derive Cy-vaill, an associate— 
gne who mutually exhibits the Maill. 

i Appendix, No. 8. 


oui- young hero is committed to th^ care of a prince, 
named Rohand, who is a mortal enemy of Duke Morgan, 
son of the sea, a neighbouring potentate. Both these per- 
sonages are found in the Triads; hut with characters some- 
what differently drawn. Morgan, sur-named Mwynvawr, 
or most courteous, the son of Adras (Adraste ?) was one of 
the royal knights in the court of the mythological Arthur.* 
And the Rohand of the tale, is Rhyhawd, the man of ex 
cess, styled Eil Morgant, the successor of Morgant ; and 
this character, as his name implies, carried his mytical loie 
beyond legitimate bounds. The triads rank him with 
Dalldav, Mystagogue and March, the horse, as a compeer, 
in the court of the same Arthur. 

He is also styled Overvardd, or one who corrupted the 
Bardic system with a mixture of foreign fable. This is 
the delineation of a Hierophant, who made some innovation 
in the Druidical mode.- 


This Rohand, anxious for the safety of his charge, di- 
rected his wife to feign a second jlelivery, adopted the in- 
fant as his son, and called him by the inverted name of 
Trem Trist. He took the greatest care of his education, 
and had him instructed in all the fashionable arts and sci 
ences, amongst which, the mysteries of hunting are emi* 
nently discriminated. 

Under this allegory, wllich is precisely in the style of the 
British tales, we have the history of Tristrem's initiation 
into the mongrel rites of Rhyhawd. — Thus the aspirant, 
Taliesin, was bom again of Ceridwen, and instructed in 
her mystical hall ; and thus the celebration of mysteries is 

G G 

* W. Archaiol. V. II, p, 7i. Triad, 118. 


represented in the story of Pwyll, under the inoage of hunt- 
ing : but the new lore, communicated to Tristreai, differed 
from that of his parents, therefore his name was i/jccrf erf. 

We are afterwards told of a strange ship, which appeared 
upon the coast of Cornwall. The English translator, a 
rhymer of the thirteenth century, naturaUjr qalls it Nor- 
wegian, hut as the story is mythological, the ship must 
have belonged to a people who visited Cornwall, during 
the early ages of mythology. This vessel was freighted 
with hawks, which Tristrem won at chess, and distributed 
amongst his friends. Here it may be remarked, that no 
ship ever sailed with such a cargo ; but the British Ceres 
transformed herself into a hawk ; * and this bird was a sa- 
cred symbol in Eastern mythology. It occurs frequently 
in Egyptian sculpture, as the favourite representative of 

Tristiem is now conducted to the court of Cornwall, 
and by means of a ring, the glain, or insigne of a Druid, 
which he had received of his mother, is recognized as the 
nephew of March, knighted, or admitted to the dignities of 
the Bardic order ; and advanced to the command of an 
army, or made high priest, having fifteen attendant knights 
assigned to him, all of them bearing boards heads. — The 
meaning of this allegory is evidently the same as that of 
the Triads, which represent him as a g7'eat swine herd. 

Invested with this power, Sir Tristrem sallies forth, to 
attack Duke Morgan, the president of, the older system of 
Druidism ; kills his adversary, and confers his conquered 
dominions upon Rohand,.or Khyhawd, the corrupter of 

* Hones Toiiesm. 


Bai'dic mystery. Hence the Triads represent Rhyhawd 
as Eil Morgan, or successor of Morgan, 

We next hear of our hero's combat with a champion of 
Ireland, whom he kills in the field: but at the same time, 
he is pierced with a poisonous weapon. The wound proving 
incurable, renders his person so disgusting, that he with- 
draws from society, ^n mere despair he goes on board a 
ship, which he commits to the mercy of the wind and 
waves; but such is his good fortuncj that after tossing 
about for some time, he finds himself safe arrived in the 
port of Dublin. Here again, I suspect the rhymer has 
modernized the geography of his tale. The Queen of the 
country, however, being admirably skilled in medicine, 
heals the wound of our hero. He is called to court. 

The king's daughter, the beautiful Ysonde, the Essyllt, 
or Spectacle of the Triads, is committed to his care as a 
pupil, and instructed in music and poetry, aud in every be- 
coming branch of his mystic lore. 

Upon his return to Cornwall, Sir Tristrem reports the 
beauty and accomplishments of his fair pupil to King Mark, 
who conceives a violent passion for the princess, and com- 
missions his nephew to return to Ireland in his name, and 
demand her in marriage. 

Through a series of romantic adventures, the hero of 
Cornwall arrives at the accomplishment of his commission. 
The princess is entrusted to his care ; and they set sail. 

At their departure, the queen mother, anxious to se- 
cure the happiness of the maiTied couple, prepared and 

o G 2 


delivered to Brcngwain, Ysonde's favourite damsel, a <&^'nft 
of might, with directions, that it should be divided between 
the bride and bride-groOm, on the wedding evening. But 
fortune decided otherwise. During a contrary wind, when 
Tristreni was faint with heat and thirst from the fatigue of 
rowing, Ysonde called for some liquor to refresh him, and 
Brengwain, inadvertently brought the fatal drink of might, of 
which Tristrem and Ysonde having partaken, they inbibed 
the sudden! and resistless passion, which death alone could 
overcome. Even a dog, named Ilodain, who licked the 
cup after it was set down,, felt its invincible power, and 
became their inseparable companion. 

The drink of might which is here mentioned, must have 
been the K.vtiim, or mystical potion of Ceres, agreeing with 
the preparation of the ^acred caiddron of Ceridwen, and 
with the wine and bragget of the Welsh Bards, which was 
administered to the aspirants upon theiradmission to the 
mysteries ; and hence represented, as communicating all 
the benefits of initiation. Brengwain was certainly the 
Bronwen, or Proserpine of the Britons, whom Bran, the 
Haven had carried into Ireland, along with the mystical 
cauldron, and espoused to a sovereign of that country, dis- 
tinguished by the remarkable name of Math-olwch, form of 

Hoda'.n, corn shooting into the ear, is the attribute of 
Ceres, whose priests Taliesin styles Hodigion, bearers of 
ears qf corn. 

The Hodain of this tale seems to have been one of those 
priests, though he is described as a do^ : for heathen priests 
M-ere called KfH! ; the British Ceres transformed herself into 


a bitch; and in the tale of Fwyll, the priesthood are re- 
presented under the character of white dogs. 

Ysonde, notwithstanding her intrigue with Sir Tristrem, 
becomes the Queen of Cornwall : but not long afterwards, 
an Irish nobleman, her old admirer, arrives at the court of 
Mark, in the disguise of a minstrel, obtains possession of 
her person, and conveys her into his ship. I apprehend the 
iniport of this incident to be, that the Belgte, or other 
inhabitants of ancient Ireland, were initiated into the mys- 
tical rites which prevailed in Cornwall. 

But Sir Tristrem recovers the fair Ysonde, and restores 
her to the king, taking care, however, to devise means of 
keeping up a private intercourse with her. One of the 
stratagems to which he had recourse for this purpose, is 
very remarkable. Being separated from his mistress, he 
contrived to correspond with her by means of small bits of 
wood, on which were engraved secret characters, and which 
were floated down a small stream, which ran through the 
orchard of Ysonde's country seat. 

This is a clear allusion to the practice of sortilege, by 
which the Druids consulted their gods. 

The bits of wood were the .Coelbreni, omen-sticks, or points 
of sprigs, so often mentioned by the Bards ; or the lots, cut 
into tallies out of the shoot of & fruit-bearing tree, and dis- 
tinguished by mysterious characters, as Tacitus has accu- 
rately described them. As to the orchard, we may either 
interpret it the Druidical grove, in which those fruit-bearing 
trees must have been cultivated, or else we may I'estrain the 
meaning to the lots themselves, which were cut out of that 
grove. And it is observable, that the hierophant, Merddin 


the Caledonian, describes the whole circle of Druidical 
mysticism, under the allegory of an orchard, containing 
147 fruit-bearing trees, which were perfect tailies with each 

Sir Tristrem, after this, is made high constable, or, as the 
Triads express it, Priv Hud, president of mystery: and, as 
a privilege annexed to this office, sleeps in the queen's 
apartment. Here he takes some unwarrantable liberties ; in 
consequence of which, he is banished the court of Corn- 
wall, and retires into Wales, where he undertakes the de- 
fence of Triamour, king of the country, against the usur- 
pations of the giant Urgan, whom he kills in single 
combat. Triamour bestows the sovereignty of Wales upon 
his protector, together with a little dog, which was spotted 
with red, blue, and green; but our hero immediately restores 
the crown to Blanche Flour, the king's daughter, and sends 
the dog as a present to Ysonde. 

Triamour seems to be the Triathm^r of the Irish, in 
which the th are not audible. And the title implies a great 
king, hog, sow, wave, or hill:* so that it is a term of suffi- 
cient mystical latitude, to denote either the president of the 
Welsh Druids, the chief object of their superstition, or 
liieir elevated place of worship. 

TJrgan is, probably, the Gwrgi of the Triads, a mystical 
cannibal ; that is, a priest, or an idol, who delighted in 
human sacrifices. And here it may be remarked, that the 

• Tbis ambiguity arises fiom a general principle, wliicli discovers itself in 
every page of the Irish vocabulary ; namely, the appropriating of the same 
term to every objecl which presents the same general idea ; and the primary 
and abstract meaning of Triath happens to be, biilldness, eminence, or 


character of a, mythological giant, for the ftiost part, im- 
plies the idea of impielif or heterodoxy. Hence we find, 
that the courteous knight of one tale, is not unfrequently 
the atrocious giant of another. Such circumstances comply 
with the various opinions of the several narrators. 

Tristrem's obtaining and immediately resigning the so- 
vereignty of Wales, may imply, that his system was intro- 
duced into that country, but not established there. And it 
is observable, that the daughter of Triamour, as well as the 
mother of the Cornish champion, was named Blanche 
Flour, that is, the white trefoil, or shamrock, the mystical 
pledge of union. 

The little dog was a priest; and his spots of red, blue, 
and green, seem to import those insignia, called Gleiniau, 
v/hich were of the colours here specified. 

" These Gemma. Angmnce are small glass amulets, com- 
" monly about as wide as our finger-rings, but much 
" thicker ; of a gr^en coloui-, usually, though some of them 
" are blue, and others curiously waved with blue, red, and 
« white."* 

Mr. Owen says, they were worn by the different orders 
of Bards, each having his appropriate colour. The blue 
ones belonged to the presiding Bards, the white to the 
Druids, the green to the Ovates, and the three colours 
blended, to the disciples.f It should seem, then, that this 
party-coloured dog was either a disciple, or a graduate, in the 
several orders. 

* Gibson's Camden, Col. 815. 
+ Owen's Diet. V. Clam, 


Tristrem, upon his' return to GornVall, renews his inti- . 
macy with the queen ; in consequence of which, they are 
both banished the court- The lovers retire into a forest, 
where they discover a cavern, that had been constructed in 
old time by the giants. Here they reside,- and subsist- upon 
the venison taken by their mystical dogs. The king having 
surprised them, when asleep, in this cavern, with a drazen 
sword between them, is persuaded of their innocency, and 
restores them both into favour, ^ 

lihis forest was the Druidical grove; the cavern, a sacred 
cell, which had been con|tructed by the giants, or profes- 
sors of a different mode ; the dogs were the priests ; the 
deer their noviciates; and the sword, that weapon which 
was drawn against the irregular disciple, and religiously 
sheathed again in the solemn meetings of the Bards, upon 
the stone which covered the sacred cell.* 

Our unfortunate hero again falling into disgrace, upon 
the score of his old offence, is obliged to fly. Having tra- 
versed several countries, he enters, at last,- into the service 
of Florentin— some relation of Flur — Duke of Brittany, 
who had a daughter, named Ysonde, more chaste, and 
scarcely less beautiful than the beloved Queen of Cornwall. 
Tristrem marries this princess; but his ring, or sacred 
amulet, having reminded him of his former attachment, he 
treats his lovely bride with absolute neglect. 

This Armotican Ysonde, Essyllt, or spectacle, presents a 
tradition of some more simple religious mysteries, which 
anciently prevailed in Gaul, but which did not satisfy the 

- • Sec Appendix, No, 3, aail Owen's Diet V. Cffinlectf. 


debauched taste of the Cornish hierophant; and the next 
incident gives us a hint of the particular defect which he 
found in it. 

As a nuptial present, Tristrem had received a tract of 
country immediately adjoining the territories of a ferocious 
giant, named Beliagog: but this was accompanied with a 
strict injunction from Florentin, that he should abstain 
from hunting-^celebrating his mysteries^ — upon the lands of 
that monster, who was brother to Morgan, Urgan, and 
Moraunt. The champion of Cornwall, regardless of this 
injunction, hunts upon the lands of Beliagog, encounters 
the giant in person, disables him in combat, and makes him 
his vassal 

As Beli Was a name of the sun, so I think Beliagog may 
imply, what would be expressed in AVelsh, Beli a gwg, the 
severe or frowning Beli ; the Belenus of the more recent 
Druids of Armorica, whom Ausonius expressly identifies 
with Phcebus, or Apollo. So that the giant, so greatly 
abhorred by the primitive hierophants of Brittany, though 
connected with the Cornish superstition, was the solar di- 
vinity. And it is observable throughout the Jriads, and 
the mythological tales, that whenever the corruption of 
Druidism is described, there is always some allusion to the 
solar worship, or to those symbols by which it is implied. 
This superstition, indeed, appears in the works of the oldest 
Bards, which are now extant, incorporated with their Ar- 
kite mythology : but those who were more peculiarly de- 
■ voted to it, had the opprobrious name of Beirdd Beli^^th^ 
Bards of Beli. 

When we recollect the Gaulish tradition of Caesar's days 
r^That the discipline of Druidism, such as it then was, had 


been modelled in Britain and from thence brought over info 
Gaul,* we may deem the following incident worthy of note. 

Tristram ordered his new vassal, Beliagog, to build a 
hall — (temple) — in honour of Ysonde and Brengwain — the 
Ceres and Proserpine of Cornwall. The giant complied 
with this injunction, and built the hall within his ozim castle, 
to which he taught Tristrem a secure and secret approach. 
He also adorned this hall with sculptures, exactly represent- 
ing the whole history of his former life, with exact represen- 
tations of Ysonde, Brengwain, Mark, Meriadok, his minister, 
Hodain, and Peticrewe, their mystical dogs. 

This, surely, as a mythological tablet, describes the in- 
troduction of a system of theology, and religious rites, out 
of Britain into Gaul; and this appears to have been a mix- 
ture of Arkite superstition, and Sabian idolatry. 

In the chapter which I have just quoted from Caesar, the 
historian adds the information, that in his days, those who 
wished to have a more accurate knowledge of Druidism, 
generally went into Britain for instruction. 

This circumstance was not overlooked in the tale of Sir 
Tristrem, This knight gave his brother-in-law, Ganhardin, 
Prince of Brittany, such an interesting description of the 
Queen of Cornwall, that his curiosity was strongly excited. 
Being conducted by Tristrem to the 'marvellous castle of 
Beliagog, which he could scarcely approach without trem- 
bling, and having there viewed the portraits of Ysonde and 
Brengwain, he was so astonished with their beauty, that he 

■ ■' — ■ , I - m -,.-1. ■ W- ■ 

* De Bell. Gall. L. VI, c. 13. 


staggered, and fell backward in a swoon. Upon his reco- 
very, he felt a violent passion for the charms t)f Brengwain, 
Proserpine, whom he determined to see in person, without 
j^ss of time. Accordingly, the Gaulish prince embarks for 
this island, attended by the British hierophant. They ar- 
rive in Cornwall, meet Ysonde and Brengwain, in the 
forest, or grove, where t)ie enamoured stranger is espoused 
to the latter. 

The Auchinleck MS. being imperfect, breaks off in this 
place. The conclusion of the tale is supplied by the learned 
editor, from some French fragments. But, if I may judge 
from British mythology, which certainly constitutes the 
basis of the history of Sir Tristrem, this part is less au- 
thentic than the work of Thomas the Rhymer. 

The particulars which I have remarked in this story, 
have the genuine character of that traditional lore, which 
we find in the Triads, the Mabinogion, and several passages 
of the ancient Bards : and they discover one principal 
source of those romantic narratives, which, for a series of 
ages, constituted the favourite reading of Europe. 

Such tales as the Mabinogion, it will be said, do not de- 
serve to be ranked with sober history^ This is freely ac- 
knowledged. They are only brought forward, to diffuse a 
faint ray over ages, where history refuses its light. In this 
sense, they may be useful. They contain traditions of 
remote times, when Druidism had many private, and some 
avowed friends : and they are found to coincide with the 
most authentic documents which we have upon the subject 
of British superstition, and with the researches of our best 


Thus, under the representation of three mighty swine- 
herds, or hierophants, we have, first of all, an account of 
the earliest religion of onr Celtic ancestors, concerning 
which any memorials have come to our times : and this ap-§ 
pears to have consisted of a deplaved copy of the patri- 
archal religion, with a strong abhorrence of Sabian 

Coll and his mystical sow, present] the picture of a novel 
system, which was introduced into Cornwall, and from 
thence extended into Wales, and into other parts of Britain. 
This had a general correspondence with the former, in the 
memorials of Arkite superstition; but it also included an 
adoration of the heavenly bodies, and viewed the deified 
patriarch, as united with the sun. 

The character of Trystan continues the history of a he- 
terogeneous superstition, made up of the religion of the 
native Britons, incorporated with foreign innovation, ex- 
tending over great part of Britain, and cultivated in Ire- ^ 
land, but chiefly centering in Cornwall, where it had gained 
the first establishment upon British ground, and from 
thence introduced into Gaul, 

As the characters of the three great swine-herds, present' 
a general view of the history and revolutions of Druidism, 
previous to the Roman conquest of Briton; it may not be 
amiss to consider ajew traditions, relating to those events 


which affected the superstition of our ancestors, subse- 
quent to that period. 

* The British documents, in which tliese traditions are 
involved, are, it must be confessed, Kke the former, suffi- 
ciently uncouth and obscure ;■ but they are the; best that 
we have, and I shall pass over them as slightly as pos- 

That the Romans, during their profession of paganism, 
shewed but little countenance to the Celtic priesthood, may 
be inferred from the severe prohibition of their religious 
rites in Ciraul, and from the conduct of Suetonius, towards 
, the Dritids, the groves and the altars of Mona. And it 
cannot be supposed, that this people, after they became 
Christian, could view the remains of British idolatry, 
with more favourable eyes. 

The public sacrifices of the Druids, and their open pro- 
fession of magic, were undoubtedly suppressed in those 
parts of the provinces, which were more immediately under 
the inspection of the government. But this operation of 
civil edicts, does not necessarily imply, the immediate 
eradication of an inveterate superstition from the minds of 
the people. From what we know of British infatuation, 
after the departure of the Romans, it is reasonable to con- 
clude, that during their vassalage, our progenitors had 
kept fast hold of their ancient prejudices and customs. We 
are told, which is probably true, that in many corners bf 
the island, the Romans permitted the natives to be go- 
verned partly by their own laws, and under princes of their 
own. In those Asyld, people thus disposed, and who 
spoke a language which was unintelligible to their pohtjcal^ 


masters, would naturally preserve the memory of their sa- 
cred poems and traditional institutes : they would also con- 
tinue to pei-form such of their mystical rites, as. were less 
obnoxious to observation and public censure. 

From the language of the Triads, and some ancient 
poems, there is reason to infer, that they carried their pre- 
judices still further : that during the Roman government, 
there was a seminary of Dniids some where in the North 
of Britain, or in an adjacent island ; and probably beyond 
the limits of the empire, where the doctrine and discipline 
of heathenism were cultivated without controul : that those 
Druids persisted in sacrificing, even human victims : that'cer- 
tain devotees, from the Southern provinces, repaired to their 
solemn festivals : that upon the departure of the Romans, 
some abominable rites were brought back from the North 
into Mona, and into other parts of Wales ; and that the 
Northern seminary was not finally suppressed till the close 
of the sixth century. 

The notices upon which I ground this opinion, I now 
proceed to state. 

Of the introduction of the Cornish mode of Druidism 
into Carnarvonshire, and from thence into North Britain, 
we have had a hint in the. story of CoU, the great mysta- 
gogue, who is said to have presented Brynach, prince of 
the Northern Gwyddelians, with the Eaglet which was de- 
posited by the mystical sow, and which, in after times be- 
came very famous. 

The fame of this eagle and his progeny, is now to be l"e- 
<pognized only in the history of the two dusky birds of 


Gwenddoleu, which guarded his treasure, wearing a yoke of 
gold; and which were iri the daily habit of consuming two 
persons for their dinner, and the like number for their sup- 
per.* Such is the language of the Triads : and if this 
does not imply the sacrificing of human victims, to some 
divinity, who acknowledged those bir^ for his symbols, 
or his attributes, I know not what to make of it. 

Gwenddoleu, the master of those consumers, is described 
as a prince, who resided on the North of the Strath-Clwyd 
Britons; but contiguous to them. His destructive birds 
fell together with himself, by the hand of Gall Power, the 
son of Dysg Yvedawg, the imbiber of learning, who is re- 
presented as prince of Deira and Bernicia. This catas- 
trophe happened in the battle of Arderydd ag Eryddon, the 
Mgh eagle, and the eagles, a fanatical contest on account of 
a bird's nest,f which was decided in the year 593. J 

These birds which daily consumed their human vic- 
tims — which were destroyed by the power of a prince, 
who had imbided learning, or embraced Christianity, aiid 
in the battle of eagles, are certainly to be understood in a 
mystical sense; and as the eagle was one of the symbols 
under which an object of Druidical superstition was re- 
presented, I presume that these birds of Gwenddoleu must 
have the same symbolical meaning, "as the eaglet which was 

• W. Archaiol. V. II. p. 9. 13, 65. 

+ W. Ai;chaLol. V. 11. p. 11, 65. 

t Cambrian Register^ V. .11. p. 313. . „ , 

In this contest, another mystical canibnl was destroyed— ijamely, Gwrgi 
Oani) Iwt/ii—tlie hideout, gret), Ituman dog. 


brought forth, by the mystical sow, or genius of the a^t^ 
and presented to a prince of the North' Britons. 

If this be admitted, it must at the same time- be sup- 
posed, that Gwenddoleu himself was either a priest or a 
divinity in the superstitious establishment of those Britons.^ 

Let us inquire a httle into his character and connexions. 

That there was a celebrated Northern prince in the sixth 
century, knoivn by the name of Gwenddoleu, and litterally 
opposed to Rhydderch, in the battle of Arderydd, I will 
not take upon me to deny; but as it was a notorious practice 
of British priests, to assume some title of the God they 
worshipped ; and as this name implies of the luminous ob- 
lique courses, I rather think it was an epithet for the sun. 
His priest, notwithstanding, may have taken a fancy 
to it. ^ 

Gwenddoleu was the son of Ceidio, preservation, the son 
of Arthwys, the indoser, the Arkite, the son of M6r, the sea. 
AmOngst his uncles and brothers we have Pabo, producer of 
life; Eleuver, the luminary; Cov ; memory, and Nudd, 
mist. — Those are mystical connections of the Helio-Arkite 

If we look for Nudd, we shall find that he draws his pe- 
digree somewhat differently, but from the same vocabulary 
of superstition.— He was the son of Senyllt, the seneschal or 
mystagogue, the son of Cedig, the beneficent, a title of the 
Arkite goddess, recognized by Taleisin.* And this Nudd 

App«bdix, No. 4. 


had a son named Dryteon, the Druidical teacher, whose re- 
tinue is celebrated for having voluntarily maintained the 
contest, in the open course of Arderydd, the gcene of 
Gwenddoleu's overthrow. * 

The fidelity of G^nddoleu's retinue is -equally famous. 
It is recorded of them, that they maintained the conflict 
for forty-six days after] the death of their Lord, and till 
they had aVenged his fall.f 

Gwenddoleu was also one of the renowned bulls of the 
contest of mystery, classed with the Primordial great one, 
son of the prior world, of former inhabitants ; and with 
the parent, son of the primitive horse, Hippos or sacred 
ship. He, therefore, personified the great Helio-Arkite 

From these notice* offered by the Triads, let us turn to 
Merddin, the Caledonian. This dignified priest informs us, 
that his Lord Gwenddoleu had presented, or privately exhi- 
bited to him, a hundred and forty-seven apple-trees of equal 
age, height, length, and size, which had sprung from the bo- 
som of Mercy; were enveloped by one mystical veil, and were 
still left under the protection or Olwen, a mythological cha- 
racter, who must be identified with the Arkite goddess. — ■ 
The fruit of these trees were precious things whicli Gws^d' 
doleu freely bestowed. J 

H H ' 

• W, Archfliol. V. II. p. 8. 12. 69. 

t Ibid. p. 7. 16. 70. The poems of Merddin the Caledonian, aiford ground 
of conjecture, tliat these days were years, during which, the votaries of Dru- 
idism persisted in their superstitions practices, after some severe laws tad 
been promulgated against them. 

i Merddin's Avajlensu, 1, and 6. 


Those trefes, as I shall shew presently, were purely alle- 
gorical, and imported the tarious secrets of Druidism; 
consequently, Gwfenddoleu, who had the peculiar privilege 
of exhibiting the mystical orchard, and disposing of its 
produce, must in some sense, have presided over the 
order of Druids, And thus much is implied, in the dia- 
logue between "Gwyn ab Nudd, the. king of the deep, and 
Gwyddnaw, the great Heriophant, or representative of the 
patriarch, where Gwenddoleu is styled Colovyn Cerddeu— 
the pillar of' Bardic lore,* 

Putting these things together, and still recollecting the 
birds which wore a golden yoke, guarded the treasures of 
Gwenddoleu, and consumed four persons daily; I think we 
may conclude, that Gwenddoleu was the head of an eminent 
Druidical establishment in North Britain, which admitted 
of human sacrifices. And whether he is to be deemed a 
divinity, or an Arch-Druid, the representative of a divinity, 
his influence at one period must have been very extensive, 
as we may collect from the language of his votary and 
chosen priest, Merddin the Caledonian. 

" I have seen Gwenddoleu, adorned with the precious 
" gifts of princes, gathering his contributions from every 
" extretnify cf the land : noy, alas the red turf has covered 
*' the most gentle chief of the Northern sovereigns" f 

As this mystical ruler of sovereigns, who had received his 
offerings from the remotest regions, was Merddin's acknow- 
ledged lord, it may not be amiss to consider a few parti- 

• W. Archaiol. p. 165. 
■i Hoianaa 3. 


culars of that Bard's character, both as drawn by certain 
ancient writers, who composed in his ja^me, and as exhi-. 
bited by himself in his genuine works. 

To the English reader, I am aware, that the term Bard, 
suggests only the idea of a person of mean condition, who 
has distinguished himself by the composition of a few silly 
rhymes ; and this idea is generally 'accurate, when it regards 
the modern Welsh Bards : but amongst the ancient Britons, 
the title was of eminent dignity and' importance; it could 
be conferred only upon men of distinguished rank in society, 
and who filled a sacred office. 

Thus, Merddin is styled supreme judge of the North ; 
that is, of the regions beyond the little kingdom of Strath 
Clwyd ; and the Sy&, or diviner of every region :* and in 
virtue of this office, he was Cerddglud Clyd Lliant, presi- 
dent of Bardic lore, about the waters of Clyde, f He was 
companion of Canawon CynUaithjX the offspring of the 
goddess of slaughter, whom Aneurin thus commemorates, 
in the songs of the Gododin. — " If, in the banquet of 
'' mead and wine, the Saxons sacrificed to slaughter, the 
" mother of spoliation ; the energetic Eidiol also honoured 
" her before the mount, in the presence of the god of 
f' vietory, the king who rises in light, and ascends the 
" sky."§ 

H H a 

• Cyvoesi 1. 
+ Ibid. 11. 
i Ibid. 11.47. 

468 , 

And this connexion between the British divinities of 
tlawghter and victory, is marked in the character of Merd- 
din, who is styled — Allwedd byddin Budd Ner* — the key, 
or, interpreter of the army of the god of victory. 

He was the brother of 'Gwenddydd Wen, adlam Cerddeuf 
— the fair lady of the day, the refuge of Bardic lore — a 
mythological character : and this lady addresses the vene- 
rable priest in the following terms : — " Arise from thy secret 
" place, and unfold the books of the Awen (Bardic muse, 
" a name of Ceres), the object of general dread, and the 
" speech of Bun, Proserpine, and the visions of sleep."J 

These pare some of the' qualifications of Merddin, as re- 
corded by a Northern, but unknown Bard, who wrote in 
his name and character about the year 948. § He was a 
supreme judge, a priest, and a prophet — and he was conver- 
sant in the mysteries of the very same divinities, Cynllaith, 
Budd, Awen, and Bun, whidi were revered at the great 
temple of Stonehenge. 

His reputation as a prophet, has thrown a shade over the 
few remains of his g-enuine productions. It has suggested 
a hint for their interpolation, by more recent Bards, with 
political predictions, adapted to the circumstances of the 
times, or the views of parties. The mystical poem, called 

* Cyvoesi 69. 
t Ibid. 133. 
i Ibid. 129, 

§ So his age is fixed bv our great antiquarvi Ed, Llwjd. See his Catalogue 

»i British MSS. ■ ^ , ^ 


Hoianau, certaiply. contains some speqimens of this kind, 
'which cannot be as old as the time of Merddiil: yet, I 
think, the bulk of the piece is his genuine composUiftn. 
At least, it is not the work of a Welshman ; for much of 
its grammatical idiom,; and several of its, terms, are in'.lhe 
language, of those Northern people, amongst whom, it,,is 
acknowledged that Merddin lived.* ' 

In this piece, Merddin the Caledonian, like Pryd^ri, Coll, 
and Trystan, supports the character of a swineherd, or myi 
tagogue. He had resided, with his herd, either in an 
island, or in? some remote prompntory, where, amongst 
other arts, he had practiced diviraakion, by the flight arid 
voices of -sea-fowls. And it is from this locality of his 
residence, as 1 suppose, that he is called the son of Mor- 
vryn, the mount in the sea. 

In this happy retreat, Merddin is exposed, as well as his 
mystical herd, to a severe persecution, conducted by a King 

* This fact will appear upon tlie examination of tte very first line. 

Oian a phorchellan, a pharchell dedwydd^wiiich would be thus expressed in 
"Welsh — 

■ Edrycho harckellynt o barchell dedwydd. 

" Attend, thou, little pig, thou initiated pig." 

It must hare be remarked, that we have no such word as Oian: it certainly 
comes from the Irish and Caledonian verb Oig^aw, ovOighanam, I behold, I 
mttettd, whence the imperative Oi^/taH, pronounced Oi'an, Behold! Attend! 

Again, a, in Irish and Erse, is a sign of the vocative case ; biit it is never 
so in Welsh : we write and pronounce o. 

The initial p in porchellan, is here changed into phj after the sign of the 
vocative, as in Ireland and the Highlands ; whereas in Welsh, it would neces- 
sarily become a h. Thus, instead of the exclamation of the Irish Ossian — A 
Fhadruig, Patrick, a Welshman would express himself — " Badrig!" and 
in all parallel cases, the variations of the initials are the same. 

Parchell, in this poem, takes the Irish and Erse diminutive termination, an, 
which the Welsh express by yn. So that it is evident from these three first 
words, that the Hoianau is not Welsh ■ and (hat we had our copy from the 
country of Merddin : for had it come from Ireland, it would have differed still 
mote than it does from our native idiom. 


of Alclud, who is styled Rhydderch Hael, RhzmfDiadur ffydi 
■ — Rhydderch the Liberal, the champion of the Ghrislidn 

The flame kindled by this King of the Strath Clwyd Bri- 
tons, commiinicates itself to the neighbouring princes, to 
a host of bishops and monks, and, in short, to all the pro- 
fessors of Christianity ; and the grunting chorus is in danger 
of being roasted aliVe. 

It is upon this occasion, that the terrified Druid rouses 
the attention of his pigs, and warns them to fly for their 
lives into some secret place in the Caledonian forest. His 
address is "worthy of a swineherd, and of his audience. 
The reader may be amused with a short specimen or two. 

" Attend, little pig — thou initiated pig ! Burrow not with 
" thy snout on the top of the hill. Burrow in a secret 
" hiding place, amongst the forests — a place which has 
" not been noted by Rhydderch the Liberal, the champi6n 
" of the faith." 

" Attend, little pig! it was necessary to depart — to avoid 
" the hunters of the water-dwellings (our insular abodes), if 
" they should attempt to seize us — lest the persecution 
" should come upon us, and we should be seen. If we 
" can but escape, we will not deplore our calamitous toil." * 

If all this is to be understood in the literal sense, what 
ideas must we entertain of the Christian princes and bishops, 
who could condescend to pei'secute such a groveling herd ! 

Hoianau 1, S, 


But the initiated or enlightened swiue Wiere certainly alle- 
gorical: and the real objects of persecution are suggested 
in a little poem,* purporting to have been a dialogue be- 
tween Merddin, and a person c^U^d Ys Colan, The Colan. 
Here our swineherd appears in the character of an insolent 
and contumacious pagan. 

Merddin seeing a stranger approach his watery nook, with 
a black horse, and a black cap, and iii dark attire, demands 
if his name was Ys Colan, 

The stranger replies, that he really was Ys Colan, a Scot- 
tish or Irish scholar^ who held the Bard in little esteem : and 
at the same time denounces the vengeance'of the king upon 
those who should refuse to plunge into the water, or be 

As the battle of Arderydd, or the aera of the persecution 
of the Bards, is dated in the year 593,f and as Merddin 
and his associates made a precarious, stand for some years 
longer, I think it highly probable that The Colan, an Irish 
scholar, who introduced Christianity amongst the Druidi- 
cal herd in Caledonia, and enforced the necessity' of baptism, 
was no other than Colomba, the priest aud abbot, who came 
cut of Ireland into Britain, jin the year 605, to instruct the 
Northern Picts in the Christian religion, and received from 
his converts, the island of Hu, lona, or I-Colm-Kil.;}: 

To this mission of the good abbot, Merddin seems to 

* W Archaiol. p. 132. 

t Cam. Reg. V. II, p. S13. 

t Bede, L. III. c. 4. Cibsoo's Camdeit Col. 1241, 14^. 


iiave made an obstinate resistance: for in the poem above 
mentioned, he complains of the penalties he had incurred, 
by having burnt the church, obstructed the establishment 
of a school, and drowned a book, with which he had been 

He then pleads the merit of having been confined for a 
whole year upon the pole of a wear : that is, having been 
initiated, like Taliesin, into the greater mysteries of the 
wear of Gwyddnaw; and upon this plfea, hp implores the 
Creatpr to forgive his oifences,* 

In the conclusion he acknowledges, that had he known 
how perceptibly the wind blew upon the points of the mys- 
tical sprigs, he would have desisted from an action which 
he had imprudently committed. As this is an illusion to 
the Bardic mode of writing, it may imply, that Merddin 
had either disclosed or written something in defence of his 
system, which, in the event, proved injurious to it. And 
the Bards have a tradition, that Is Colan threw a heap of 
British books into the fire, 

From these particulars, it is pretty evident that Merddin, 
the vassal of Gwenddpleu, has been viewed as the hiero- 
phant of a herd of heatkenishswine. 

Let us now consider the character of their great enemy, 
who instigated the neighbouring princes, together with the 
bishops and menks, to unite in the persecution of this in-? 
, fatuated race. 

* I follow the order of a MSi copy in roy possession. The printed edjtioii 

^as tra,nspos^d two stanzas. 


E-hydderch the Liberal, the son of Tudwal of Tud-Clyd, 
or the district of Clyde, was King of the Strath Clwyd 
Britons, about the close of the sixth century; and his resi- 
dence was at Alclvd, or Dunbarton.* We have seen, that 
he is mentioned by Merddin as the champion of the Chris- 
tian faith, and the determined persecutor of the mystagogue 
and his swine. 

In the Cyvoesi, where Merddin is introduced as prophe- 
sying of those events which should take place, subsequent 
to the battle of Arderydd, in which Rhydderch slew the 
celebrated Gwenddoleu, we are further told— 

Byd Gwynnydd yn rhyd — Tawy, 
Rhydderch Hael, dan ysbeid, 
Gelyn Dinas Beirdd bro Glyd. 

1 This passage is somewhat obscure, owing to the transpo- 
sition of the sentences: but the meaning is this — 

" Rhydderch the Liberal, the enemy of the community 
" of Bards, in the vale of Clyde, after an interval, will 
" put the white-vested ones into the ford of Tay."f 

That is, when Rhydderch had routed the idolatrous 
Bards from his own dominions, and the neighbouring dis- 
tricts, they retired into the midst of the Caledonian forest, 
as related by Merddin. After some time, their retreat is 
discovered upon the bank of the Tay; and the pagan fugi- 

• W. Archajol. V. II. p. 11. 

t Tawy, a. principal river, that penetrates the centre of , the Caledonian 
forest, must be the Tpy. 


tives are still pursued, by the influence of Rhydderch. 
But as this " Liberal" prince puts the &hite-vested ones, or 
Druids, into the ford, and not into the deep parts of the 
river, we may conclude that his intention was to baptize^ 
and not to drown them. 

Hence we may form a probable idea of what is meant, 
by the celebrated battle of Ard-erydd ag En/ddon, the high 
eagle and the eagles, in which this Christian prince slew 
Gwenddoleu, who was at the head of the Druidical super- 
stition — in which the imbiber of learning slew his two mys- 
tical birds, which dehghted in human sacrifices— rin which 
that cannibal monster, Gwrgi Garwlwyd, ths hideous and 
grey human dog, also fell ; and in which the united cham- 
pions of the Christian faith dispersed the adherents to the 
ancient superstition, amongst the rocks and caves of the 
Caledonian forest. 

This battle seems to have been decided, not by the sword^ 
but by severe edicts, by the oratory of Christian ministers, 
and the zeal of reformers, manifested in the demolition of 
idols and heathen temples, and in the punishment of the 
contumacious, or their expulsion from society. 

I have now produced a chain of traditional notices, whicli, 
imply, that the symbols of superstition found their way 
into the North, from Cornwall, and through Wales, in an 


age of general heathenism ; and that the superstition which 
accompanied these symbols, flourished in the West of Scot- 
land, till nearly the close of the sixth century. 

It is farther intimated in a whimsical Triad, that the 
provincial Britons viewed this Northern hierarchy with 
great respect, and that they not only made pilgrimages to 
the feasts of the Caledonian priests, but also, that they re- 
imported some of their mystical furniture and rites into 
Walesj after the departure of the Romans. This Triad 
introduces certain sacred ships, under the character of 
horses, hke the Hippi of Greek mythology. The first article 
runs thus— 

" Three horses carried the three loads of the island of 
" Britain. The black horse of the seas, the steed of Helio- 
" dorus, the ifiost courteous, carried seven persons and a 
" half, from the mount of the flat stone of Hdiodorus, in 
" the North, to the mount of the flat stone of Heliodorus, 
" in Mona. 

" The seven persons were, Heliodorus, the most courteous; 
" Eurgain, golden splendour, his wife, the daughter of 
" Maelgwn, the beneficent chief; and Gzeyn da Gyvoed^— 
" white,* good to his contemporaries, the master of his dogs 
" (his high priest) ; saA Gwyn da Reiniad, white, the good 
" darter; and the monk of Nawmon, the ship of the cow, 
" His counsellor; and Pedrylaw, four-handed, his butler; 
" and Arianvagyl, sihercrook, his servant. And the half 
" person was Gel ben evyn, shoot or branch, with the shackled 

* These whites were Druidi. 


" headi his cook, who swam with his hands upon the horse's 
" crupper, and his feet in the water."* 

It is hoped the general reader Will excuse the introduc- 
tion of this odd paragraph, for the sake of the mythologist 
or antiquary, who may discover something -curious in the 
several items. I shall only remark, that the steed which 
carried such a load of mysterious beings out of Scotland 
into Mono, and by sea, can only be considered as the repre- 
sentative of the sacred ship of mythology, which was the 
vehicle of the mystical eight. 

This voyage took place in the interval, between the de- 
parture of the Romans in the fifth, and the general con- 
version of the Welsh about the close of the sixth, century: 
the story, therefore, involves an account of the re-con- 
ducting of some Druidical apparatus, with a suite of 
priests, out of Scotland into Wales. And the name of 
Heliodorus^ the master of the group, has, probably, a re- 
ference to the sun, who was a distinguished object in the 
mysticism of Coll, the Cornish hjerophant. 

The Triad proceeds thus — ^ 

" The second load was that of Cornan, ''having small 
" horns — crescent — the horse of the sons Eliver, with the 
" great retinue, which carried Gwrgi and Peredur, and 
" Dunawd Bwr, the sons of' Pabo, and Cynvelyn Drw^l, 
" to see the sacred fire of Gwenddoleu, in Arderydd." 

Here we have pilgrimages to the solemnities of the Nor- 

* W, Archaiol. V. II. p. 7, 20, rp. 


thern Druids. This Cornan, or Crescent, was, I suppose, 
a mere symbol of the sacred ship ; an insigne of the same 
import as the Cwrwg Gwydrin, or boat of glass, mentioned 
by Taliesin, as exhibited in the hand of the stranger, and 
procuring his admission to the nocturnal celebrities^* 

The heroes, whom thi« Cornan introduced to the Nor- 
thern solemnities, were near relations of Gwenddoleu, or 
members of his mystical society. Elwer and Paho were 
brothers of Geidio, Gwenddoleu's father, and grandsons of 
M6r, thesea.f 

Gwrgi and Peredur, the sons of Pabo, were, at last, 
deserted by their party, and slain at Caer Greu, the city of 
blood,-\. or in the battle ' of Arderydd.§ Their story is full 
of mythology. Gwrgi, the human dog, surnamed Garw- 
Iwydi hideous and grey, like the birds of his cousin Gwendr- 
doleu, delighted in human sacrifices ; and, like them, was 
slain by a son of the imbiber of learning. || 

The third mystical load recorded by our Triad, was that 

* Cadair Taliesin, in the third section of this Essay. See also Maurice's 
India.n Antiquities, V. VI. p. 190. Bryant's Analysis, V. II. p. 242. 

In Montfaucon's Antiquities, Y. II. fronting p. 276, is the £gure of a bass 
relief, found at Autun, representing the Arch-Druid bearing his sceptre, and 
crowned with a garland of oak leaves, whilst another Druid approaches, and 
displays a crescent in his right hand, 

t Eliver is sometimes called 'Eleuvtr, the luminary (W. Archaiol. V. II. 
p. 64). Gwgawn Gwrcm, the levirely energetic, herald of mysteries, is some- 
times/ represented as his son, and other times as his graadssn. Ibid. p. IS. 
and 63. 

t Ibid. p. 8, 16, 70. 

§ Camb. Reg. V. II. p. 313. 

11 W. Archaiol, V, II, p. 9, 13, 65. fc. 


of Erch, or Haid,* the steed of Gwi-thmwl, the sovercig0, 
which carried Gwair, and Clais, and Artltanawd, upon an 
expedition against the cliflF of Maelawr, in Cardigan, to 
avenge their father. It was a sacred law with Maelawr, 
not to close his port against any load that might arrive: in 
consequence of this, he was slain.j- 

This sea-horse, or ship, called a bee in one dialect, and a 
swarm in another, must be referred to Melissa, and her 
Melissae, or the Arkite goddess and her priesthood. 

Gzerthmwl, the sovereign, was the priest of an idol, or 
sacred ox, called Tarw Ellyll, the bull demon :% but this bull 
pertained to the Arkite deity. 

His residence v{a.& a.t iih& promontory, or insular mount of 
Rheonydd, in the North, where he presided as chief elder, 
or high priest, of one of the regal tribes, under the mytho- 
logical Arthur. § His castle was one of the principal pa- 
laces, or temples, of that patriarch ;,|| and, in a comparatively 
recent age of Christianity, it became the scite of an archie- 
piscopal church.^ 

Rheonydd is, evidently, the same as Merddin's Caer 
Rh'eon and Rhyd RKeon, once the chief seat of his su- 

• Irish, EaTCf 9 iee : Welsh, Haid, a swarm. 

t W. Archaiol, V. II. p. 7, 20, 79. 

t Ibid. p. 16, 17, 71. 

§ Ibid. p. 3, 68. 

II Ibid. p. 14, 7J. 

S Ibid p. 6». 


perstition, whence he was routed by Ys €olan, or St. 

Hence it may fairly be conjectured, that this celebrated 
spot, the great asylum of the Northern Druids, was the 
island of Hu, or lona, which was occupied by the said 
Columba, and in after-ages contained the metropolitan 
church of all the Western islands. The early Christians 
did often erect their churches upon the ruins of heathen 

Mr. Bryant is positively of opinion, from the very names 
of Cohimbkil and lona, that this island was, anciently, 
sacred to the Arkite divinities. If I may be permitted to 
go upon similar grounds, I may remind the reader, that 
the Britons did worship the patriarch by the name of Tiu ; 
and that Taliesin expressly denominates. Mono, the great 
sanctuary of Arkite superstition, Ynys gzmwd Hu, the 
island of the praise of Hu ; and hence I may infer, that 
Bede's island of Hu, at one period, constituted the centre 
of Northern Druidism. 

From this place, the sons of Gwrthmwl, the sovereign, 
the master of the bull demon, proceed with their horse, 
or sacred slnp, and land in South Wales, for the purpose 
of avenging their father, or reinstating him in those ho- 
nours, which he had partly lost during ^he Roman go- 

Amongst the heroes engaged in this expedition, I dis- 
tinguish the name of Gwair, one of the titles of the Di- 
luvian patriarch. This personagie, and his associates, over- 
come their adversary, or the humbled and more timid 
superstition, which had hitherto lingered in the Southern 


piovinces ; and they succeeded in replanting some mystical 
rites in the territories of the Welsh, during the short period 
of British independence. , 

Thus, the history of the three mythological horses is 
referred to the tampering of our Cambrian progenitors with 
some heathenish superstitions, which had been cherished 
in the North, beyond the line of the Roman empire : and 
if I may depend upon our Welsh chronologMS, for the sera 
of the characters here introduced, these transactions oc- 
curred after the departure of the Romans, and a consider- 
able time before Rhydderch, with his princes, bishops, and 
monks, slew Gwenddoleu and his cannibal birds, or ruined 
the Northern establishment of, the Druids. 

Of th^ consequence of the battle of Ardetydd, we have 
some account in the Avallenau, or apple-trees, a poem, which 
Mr. Turner has proved to be the genuine production of 
Merddin; and which contains the expiring groans of the 
Northern Druids. 

However griavous Merddin's afflictions may have been, 
for the fall of his lord, Gwenddoleu, we find, that his own 
hand added greatly to their weight, by the undesigned 
slaughter of his own sister's* son, in the same fatal en- 

* That is, tkesonoi.Gwenddydd, thtlidy of the day. 


It is difficult to ascertain the precise meaning of this 
pocft'carincideirt : but we may suppose in general, that the 
mystagogue, in the imprudent defence, of his fraternity, 
committed some action which proved detrimental to its 
cause. We are told, however, that the effect of his error 
was a derangement of intellect, an abhorence of society, and 
a precipitate flight into the forest of Caledonia. 

In this frantic mood, and after an interval of many years, 
he makes the rocks and calves resound, with the melody of 
his sti'ain; in which his derangement appears to have been 
only assumed, for the purpose of repressing curiosity : for 
though his descriptions are designedly obscure, they have 
too much method for real madness. It is the madness of a 
heathen prophet. 

The ostensible purport of this poem is a tribute.of gratituda 
for an orchard, containing a hundred and forty-seven delici- 
ous apple trees, which had been privately exhibited to the 
Bard, by his Lord Gwendolen, and which he still carries 
with him in all his wanderings. 

This circumstance, at once, points out the impropriety of 
understanding Merddin's orchard, in the literal sense, and 
leads us to some allegorical meaning. 

•Many particulars of this allegory may be interpreted from 
what has gone before in this essay; and it may be admitted 
as additional evidence, of two curious facts : namely, that 
the superstitious rites of Bruidism were avowedly practiced^ 
in certainxorners of Britain, as late as the .close of the sixth 
century ; and that the Bards of that age, used all the means 
ia theij: power, to conceal their secrets from the knowledge 



«r the populace, to guard them from the persecution of 
Christian princes and ministers, and at the same time, to 
ti-ansmit them safe and unblemished, to future ages. 

In support of this assertion, I shaU produce abstract* 
from the several stanzas of the Avalleium, translated as 
literally as the darkness of the subject, aad the faults of 
the copies, will permit : and to th^se, I shall add a few oc- 
casional remarks*, 

" To no one has been exhibited, at one hour of dawn, 
" what was shewn to Merddin, before he became aged; 
" namely, seven score and seven delicious apple trees, of 
" equal age, height, length, and size, which sprung from 
" the bosom of Mercy. One bending veil covers them 
" over. They are guarded by one maid, with crisped locks: 
** her niime is Qlwedd, with the luminous teeth."* 

These trees are 147, which was a sacred number amongst 
the Britons, as we learn from Taliesin.-f 

They were exhibited at the dawn, the hour when the 
nocturnal celebration of "mysteries was completed.' The 
Tiew of these trees, therefore, implies the complete initiation 
of the priest. 

They were in every respect, perfect tallies with each other, 
and asserted to have been of divine origin. Hence we may 

* W. ATchaiol, p. ISO. 

+ j4i!gor Cyinjniawi. Ibid. p. 34. 

This is lhe.square of 7, multiplied by the nijsticaI-3. The round number 
140 often occurs. This is the computed number of the stones, Trhicb com- 
^kle4 the great temple upon Salisbury pliun. 


gather, that one of the secrets communicated by these trees, 
was the Druidical art of divining by lots : and that Merd- 
dirt's Avallen Beren, in this sense, corresponded with the 
Arbor Frugifera of Tacitus,* the shoots of which were cut 
into lots or tallies, distinguished by energetic marks, thrown 
into a white garment, or covered with a veil, and thus be- 
came the means of interpreting the will of heaven. 

These trees still remained under their veil, and in the cus- 
tody of the divine maid, Olwedd or Olwen — the British 

But to proceed — ' 

" The delicious apple tree, with blossoms of pure white, 
*' and wide spreading branches, produces sweet apples, for 
" those who can digest them: And they have always grown 
" in the wood, zehich grows apart. The nymph who appears 
" and disappears, vaticinates— words which will come to 

pass, &c. 


The Bard, having described his trees in the first Stanza, 
as exactly similar to each other, contents himself in the 
sequel, with mentioning one of them. The white blossoms 
seem to imply the robe of the Druid, the spreading branches, 
his extentive authority, the fruit, his doctrine and hopes, 

I I 2 

• This identity will appear more clearly in the sequel. If it be said, that 
Tacitiis describes a German, and not a Celtic rite, I would reply, that the 
Barditns or BardUm, which the Germans near the Rhine, possessed, in the 
days of that historian, was probably a shread of the Celtic institute, which 
had been expelled from Gaul. I do not find that any such term as Brnditui 
was familiar to the Germans of Cesar, or to those of the Mda. 


wacl the sequestered wood vshkh had always prachtced this 
fruit, his sacred grove. 

Most of the Stansas conclude with a vaticination of some 
great event, which is here put into the mouth of Chwibhian, 
the nymph, or goddess, who is alteraately visible and in- 
visible, still meaning Olwen or Proserpine, who guarded 
the sacred trees, or presided over the mysteries. 

In :l3ie *hird Stanza, Merddin tells us, that he had armed 
himself with «word and shield, and lodged in the Caledo- 
nian wood, guarding the trnvik of the tree, in order to 
gratify Bun, the maid, Proserpine, who, by way of acknow- 
ledgement, calls to him in the Northern dialect — Oian a 
Phorchellan, attend little pig, and bids him listen to the 
songs of the birds. The Bard complies, and learns the 
secrets of futurity, 

Stanza 4, " The sweet apple tree has pure white sprigs, 
" which grow, as a portion for food. I had rather en- 
*' counter the wrath of a sovereign, than permit rustics 

in raven hue, to ascend its branches. The lady of com- 
*' manding aspect is splendidly endowed ; nor am I destitute 
*' either of talents or of emulation," 

The white sprigs could only have furnished mental food 
for the Bards, as constituting their lots and their books- 
The men in black seem to .have been the mcnks,. who strove 
to expose the secrets of Druidism, whilst Merddin, the 
fanatical devotee of the mystical goddess, was determined 
to guard them, at the hazard of his life. 

Stanza^. " The fair apple tree grows upon the bord« of 



*' the vale: its yelloze apples and its leaves, are desirable ob- 
" jects, and even I have been beloved by my Gwnem, and 
" my zeolf; but now my complexion is faded by long 
" weeping; I am neglected by my former friends, and 
" wander amongst spectres who know me not." 

Thus pathetically does our mystagogue deplore^ his forlorn 
condition, after the ruin of his establishment. Gwnem 
seems to be a corruption of Gwenyn, bees, priestesses, which 
were deposited by the mystical sow; and especially as they 
are joined with the wolf, another of her productions. 

" Thou sweet and beneficient tree 1 not scanty is the fiuit 
" with which thou art loaded ; but upon thy account, I am 
terrified and anxious, lest the wood-men should come, 
those prof aners of the wood, to dig up thy root, and corrupt 
thy seed, that not an apple may ever grow upon thee 
more." , 


" I am become a wild distracted object, no longer greeted 
" by the brethren of my order, nor covered with my habit. 
" Upon me Gwenddoleu freely bestowed these precious 
" gifts ; but he is, this day, as if he had never been." — 
(Stanza 6.) 

" The proper place of this delicate tree, i« within a shelter 
" of great renown, highly beneficent and beautiful; but 
" priiices dfevise false pretefnces, with lying, gluttonou&, and 
" vicious monks, aiid pert youilgsters, rash in their dfe- 
" signs — these are the aspiring men who will triuipph in the 
" course." — {Stanza T.y 

" Now, alas, the tree which avoids rumour, grows upoB 


" the confluence of streams, without the raised circle."*-^ 
(Stanza 8.) 

In these passages, we perceive the Bard's great anxiety 
to preserve his mystical' lore, from the eifects of persecution, 
by princes, monks, and their youthful agents, who are em- 
ployed in poluting and cutting down the sacred groves, aad 
demolishing the circular temples. , 

" This sweet apple tree -abounds with s»za// shoots; hut 
" the multitude cannot taste its yellow fruit" 

" I have been associated with select men, to cultivate and 
" cherish its trunk— and when Dyvnant shall be named^ 
" the city of the stones, the Bard shall receive his per-. 

" quisite." — > 

*' Incorruptible is the tree which grows in the spot, set , 
" apart (the sanctuary) under its wide envelope. For four 
" hundred years may it remain in peace! But its root is 
" oftener surrounded by the violating wolf, than by the 
" youth who can enjoy its fruit." — 

" This tree they would fain expose to public view : so 
*' the drops of water would fain wet the duck's feather."— 
{Stanza Q, 10, llO 

Here the fanatical priest cherishes a hope, that his Druid-i 
ism, and his temples, will be re-established in some future 
age, though he has at present, more persecutors than dis- 

f In ataotlier copy—" On the hrow of a rock, without a stoni in its meh. 


ciples. In mentioning the 400 years, he seems to have a 
retrospect to the period of the Roman government, during 
which, liis superstition had already weathered the storm of 
persecution, and therefore, as tjie Bard infers, it may sur- 
vive another calamity of four centuries. 

Stanza 13. " The fair tree grows in the glade of the 
" wood. — Its hiding place has no skilful protector from the 
*' chiefs of Rhydderch, who trample on its roots, whilst the 
" multitude compass it round. The energetic figures are 
" viewed with grief and envy. The Lady of the Day loves 
" me not, nor will she greet me. I am hated by the mi~ 
" nister of Rhydderch's authority — his son and his daughter 
" have I ruined. Death who removes all, why will he not 
" visit me ! After the loss of Gwenddolen,* the lady of the 
" [white bow, by no nymph am I respected. No soother 
" amuses my grief: by no mistress am I visited. Yet^ in 
" the conflict of Arderydd, I wore the gold collar. Oh 
*' that I were precious, this day, with those who have the^ 
*' hue of the swan, (the white robed Druids !)" 

Stanza 14. " The tree with delicate blossoms, grows 
" in concealment amongst the forests. A report is heard 
" at the dawn, that the minister has expressed his indig- 
" nation against the authority of the small sprigs f, twice, 
" thrice, nay four times, in one day." — 

Stanza 15. " The fair tree grows on the bank of at river.. 

• Gwenddolen, was the mystical daughter of an ancient ling of Cornwall, 
She may represent in general, the Cornish rites ; but I think, more particu- 
larly, the Lunar dimnity. Tims she Answers lo Gwenddoleu, who represeatsd 
the sun. «..-»' 

+ This surely alludes to the practice of dwining by lots. 


" A provost cannot thrive on the splendid fruit which I 
" enjoyed from its trunk, whilst my reason was entire, in 
** company with Bun, the maid, elegantly pleasing, deli- 
" cate and most beautiful. But now, for fifty yean, haw 
" my splendid treasures been outlawed, whilst I have been 
" wandering amongst ghosts and spectres, after having 
" enjoyed abimdant affluence, and the pleasant society of 
<' the tuneful tribe," 

Stanza 16. " The sweet apple tree, with delicate blos- 
" soms, grows upon the sod, amongst the trees : and the 
" half appearing maid predicts — words which wiU come to 
*' pass ! — Mental design shall cover, as with a vessel, the 
" green assemblies, from the princes, in the beginning of the 
" tempestuous hour, — The Darter of Rays shall vanquish th^ 
" profane mrni. Before the child of the sun, bold in his 
" courses, Saxons shall be eradicated: Bards shall flourish" 

This prophecy, which is put into the mouth of Proserpine, 
imequivocally charges the Bards of Merddin's order, with 
the abomination of solar worship; The child of the Sun 
must have been his priest, who, like Taliesin, assumed his 
title and character, — 

" The blooming tree grows in Hidlock, in the Caledonian 
" wood. The attempts to discover it, by its seeds, will be 

all in vain, till Cadwaladyr, the supreme ruler of battle, 
" comes to the conference of Cadvaon, with the eagle of 
" the Towy, and the Teivi — till ranks be formed of the 
*' white ones of the lofty mount, and the wearers of Jong. 
" hair be divided into the gentle and the^erce." 


" The sweet fruits of this tree are prisoners of 'words,—™ 
" The ASS will arise, to remove men out of office; but tlijs 


" I know, an eagle from the sJcy will play with his men, 
" and bitter will be the sound of Ywein's arms. — A veil 
" covers the tree with green branches — and I will foretel 
" the harvest when the green com shall be cropped — when 
" the he eagle and the she eagle shall arrive from France."* 
—{Stama 17, l8', 19). 

" The sweet apple tree is like the Bardic mount of as- 
" sembly : the dogs of the wood will protect the cir(;k of its 
" roots."— 

" Sweet are its branches, budding luxuriant, shooting 
*' foxth renowned scions." — {Stanza QO, 21.) 

Concluding Stanza. " The sweet apple tree, producing. 
" the most delicious fruit, grows in concealment in the 
" Caledonian wood. In vain will it be sought upon the 
" bank of its stream, till Cadwaladyr comes to the con- 
" feyence of Uhyd Jtheon, with Kyrian, opposing the tu- 
^' mult of the Saxoiis, Then Cymru shall prevail. Her 
" chief shall be splendid. AH shall have their just reward. 
*' Britons shall rejoice. The horns of joy shall sound — the 
" song of peace and serenity ."-{• 

Such are the seemingly wild hints, which Merddin has 
thought proper to communicate upon the subject of hi? 

* Merddin is foreboding th^ restoration of his Lord Gwenddoleu's canibjtl 
Uglet, ' 

+ This triumphant close very mucli resembles that of Cadair Talietin, Cadair 
Ceridweit, and several other mystical poemc. This seems to have been the 
style of the Bards, at the completion of their diluvian mysteries in comnie* 
ffioration of the reCuruing season of serenity. 


apple trees, and which, undoubtedly, were agreeable to 
the mystical lore of his order. 

These trees, we find, were allegorical, and pointed to 
that mass of superstition, which the Bards of the sixth cen- 
tury had retained, and which they were desirous of conceal- 
ing, presening, and transmitting safdy to posterity. The 
Christian princes and ministers, who diligently sought for 
the mystical orchard, for the avpwed purpose of destroying 
it, root and branch, could have viewed it in no other 


But though, under this type, the general system of Dru- 
idism may be represented ; yet I am induced to conclude, 
from many circumstances which I need not recapitulate, 
that these trees, more particularly refer to the practice of 
sortilege, and have a marked connexion with the Coelbreni, 
Omen sticks, lots or letters of the Bards.* 

As Mtrddin was the most recent character, deemed by 
his fraternity, to have possessed the gift of prophecy, his ora-r 
cles were never superseded, during the long ages of supersti- 
tion : but when new predictions were demanded for political 
purposes, the succeeding Bards thought it most expedient, 
either to interpolate the Hoianau,-\ or to make the prophet 
speak out of his grave. J 

• That Merddin used tliem as means of divination, may be further inferred 
from hence ; in most of the stanzas, a prediction of some great event is imme- 
diately subjoined to tlie contemplation of these mystical ttees. 

These predictions, of which I have inserted a specimen or twoj are some- 
times delivered by the Bard himself; at other times, they are put into the 
mouth of the guardian goddess, who Las the property of alternately appearing 
and disappearing. 

+ W. Archaiol, p. 135. 
% Ibid. p. 132. 


The vaticinations of our ancient priest, are not much cal- 
culated to derive credit to his order; from the present age; 
T)ut the absurdity of his pretentions was not peculiar to 
the Celtffi. Odin, as well as Merddin, was deemed a prophet, 
and Partridge and Moore were renowned Gothic Seers, of 
more recent days. Both in their nature, and in the fate 
which attended them, the predictions of our Caledonian 
Druid, seem to have resembled the celebrated lots, or oracles 
of Musaius, which are mentioned, and obliquely quoted by 
Herodotus. These were in such high credit amongst Greeks 
and Barbarians, that men of rank and talents thought 
them worth interpolating, for political purposes. But the 
Athenians deemed the crime worthy of banishment; and 
with good reason : the sacred predictions had an authority 
which could embolden foreign princes to invade their 

When we have once closed the poems of Merddin the 
Caledonian, we hear no more of the Druidism of the North. 
Of the countenance which this ancient superstition expe- 
rienced amongst the Welsh, for seme centuries longer ; and 
of the documents which their poetry and traditions furnish 
upon the subject, I have endeavoured to give a fair and 
impartial account, in the present essay, which it is no* 
time to bring to a conclusion.^ It is hoped, that the general 
view here presented, will not be deemed superfluous in a 

• See Herodot, L. VII. C, 6- 


Britisli library, and that the cause of true religion cannot 
he injured by this delineation of the gloomy mazes of 

I shall take a brief retrospect of what I have written, and 
add a few general reflections. 

I have shewn, that the Bards pretend to the preservation of 
the mystical lore of the Druids ; and that a comparison of 
their works, with the documents of classical antiquity, con- 
firms the authenticity of their pretentions. 

From the barren, or desolated field of Bardic philosophy, 
I hastened to the consideration of religious doctrines and 
rites ; and here I have shewn, that the superstition of the 
ancient Britons consisted of two principal branches, inti- 
mately blended together. 

- One of these was [Mr: Bryant's Arkite Theology, which 
embraced some memorials of the history of the delugS, 
together with an idolatrous commemoration of Noah, of 
his family, and of his sacred ship. 

'ihe oXfaox vi3i5 Sahian idolatry, orthe vrorship'of the, host 
of heaven, a superstition, which in many other countries, 
has existed in conjunction with Arkite theology. ' 

It has been remarked, that the Britons constantly inter- 
weave the memorials of the deluge, with their reniotest 
traditions of the origin of the country and the natioai 


•*vhence arose an inference, that this: was thai superstition 
of the earUest settlei-g in Britain, and the degenerate off- 
spring of the patriarchal religion, which our ancestors de- 
rived from the great stock of the Noachidae. 

On the contrary, it was shewn, that British tradition 
clearly discriminates, and steadily reports the worship of 
the sun and moon, as an innovation, which found its way 
into Cornwall, and from thence diffused* itself into various 
parts of the British islands ; and hence, I judged it a rea- 
jBonable conjecture, that this alloy was .derived from the 
iin mei-chaats of Phoenicia, in whose country, a similar 
.superstition confessedly prevailed.. 

From this analysis it appears, that the religion of the 
Britons differed from that of most heathen nations, only 
AS a variety in the same species : that it presented no funda- 
mental principle which can be accounted peculiar. Its 
two main ^branqhes, the Arkite and the Sabian, have been 
iCleaxly traced, and in the same connexion, over great part 
of the ancient world. 

This intimate, and alnipst universal combination of two 
systems, which have no obvious relation to each other, I 
cannot contemplate, without searching for some early cause 
of such connexion. Why should Noah be the sun f or why 
should the Arkite goddess be the moon ? This is not the place 
for a new disquisition; but I may be allowed briefly to 
state a conjecture. 

The righteous Noah and his family, who had been dis- 
tinguished by a Supreme Providence, and miraculously 
preserved amidst a perishing world, must have been highly 
and justly reverenced, by their pious and obedient chil- 


dren, whilst living, their prayers were besought, and their 
precepts received, as the oracles of heaven. 

After their death, their memory was revered, and a 
growing superstition may have begun to involte these un- 
doubted favourites of heaven, as mediators with the su- 
preme being (just so the saints of the Roman church are 
invoked), and at last proceeded to worship them as gods. 

The ark, also, was the means of preservation to the 
righteous. Its figure may have been consecrated, as a refr 
gious memorial of that preservation, till superstition began 
to view it as a pledge of safety,- and to put it under the 
charge of an ideal being, who was worshipped as the uni- 
versal mother. 

Thus, the Arkite theology may have sprang from a cor- 
ruption of the patriarchal religion ; and in a manner which 
would not set the vain imaginations of man in immediate and 
open hostility with his fallible reason. 


As to the incorporation of Sabian idolatry with this su- 
perstition, when I recollect, that amongst the heathrai Bri- 
tons, the sacred ship, or ark, the zodiac and the circular 
-temple, had equally the name of Caer Sidi, I cannot help 
surmising, that the confusion arose from an abuse of the 
earliest post-diluvian astronomy. 

Whether that science revived in Ararat or Chaldea, it 
was its evident design, to commemorate the history and cir- 
cumstances of the deluge, in the dispositioti of sigrts and con- 
stellations. This device may have sprung from an innocent, 
or even laudable motive. 


But from henceforth, the heavens represented those very 
scenes, with Avhich Noah and his sons had heen conversant. 
These canonized patriarchs were acknowledged to he im- 
mortal : for the age yfhich first paid religious homage to the 
deceased, must of course have admitted the immortality of 
the soul, and the doctrine oi future rewards. 

The unbridled imagination of man no sooner contem- 
plated the sun, moon, and planets, expatiating amongst the 
heavenly mansions of these immortals, than it also began 
to regard them as emblems of their persons, and of their 
sacred vessel; and therefore as mediators between the hu- 
man race, and the unknown and great Supreme. Thug, 
the Arkite and the Sabian idolatry became one and the 

This union seems not to have been coeval with the ear- 
liest Arkite ^perstition of the Noachidse. Hence the tra- 
■ ditions of the Greeks and other nations relative to the 
persecution of Latona and her children, of Hercules, Bac- 
chus, and other <!4laracters which implied an adoration of 
the host of heaven. They were admitted, with reluctance, 
to the rank of gods. Mankind adopted the practice of 
Sabian idolatry, with an avowed consciousness, that they 
were departing from the principles of their forefathers. 

That the heathen Britons felt this consciousness, we have 
had abundant proof. It may also be urged, from their own 
traditions and acknowledgements, that their Arkite super- 
stition was a manifest corruption of better principles. 

-They had become so gross in their ideas, as to worship 
JIu the Mighty, or the patriarch, as a god. Yet they had not 
absolutely forgotten his true history. The Triads view him 


as a righteous man, aiid ascribe to hiiii the actions of s 
man. Taliesin says of him and his family—" The just 
" ones toiled : on the sea which had no laijd, long did they 
" dwell : of their integrity it was, that they did not endure 
" the extremity of distress." * 

If they were preserved for their infegrUy, it must have 
been by some superintending power: and this power is 
acknowledged by the same Bard, in his song upon Dylan, 
where we find, that " A sole supreme God, most wise un- 
" folder of secrets, most beneficent," had destroyed a pro- 
jfligate world, and preserved the lighteous patriarch. And^ 
again : the sovereign, the supreme ruler of the land, extended 
his dominion over the shores of the world, or destroyed it by 
the deluge; but, at the same time,- preserved the inclosure of 
the righteous patriarch in perfect security, f 

So that the great Diluvian god, who was worshipped 
under the symbol of the bull and the dragon, and who was 
even identified with the luminary of the material heavens, 
is acknowledged to have been no othei»ihan a saint of the 
most high. 

If such principles were admitted by heathens, when they 
came to the candid avowal of the truth, wherein did the 
great heinousness of heathenism# and its votaries, consist? 

Not in an absolute ignorance of a great First Cause, and 
of his superintending Providence, but in giving his glory 
to another, and in acting against those better principles, 
which their own minds could not but acknowledge. 

' — ■ ■ III ' , „ i ' — I I I .1 ' 

* Appendix, No. 10. 
t Appeadix, No, S. 


" Because that which may be known of God, is manifest 
•' to them, for God hath shewed it unlo them. For thei 
" invisible thing's of him, from the creation of th^ wbrid,'are 
" clearly seen, being anderstood by the things that are made> 
" even his eternal power and Godhead; 50 that they are 
" without excuse : because that, when they knew God, they 
" gldrified him not, as God, neither were thankful ; but 
" became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart 
" was darkened. 

" Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 
" and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an 
" image, made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and 
*' four-footed beasts, and creeping thingS'~T^who changed the 
" truth of God into a lie, and Worshipped and served the 
*' creature, more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever."* 

Such is the view of this subject, communicated by a 
true philosopher, a good antiquary, and no mean scholar. 

The human mind is prone to sOch woful lapses, when it 
gives way to v?Ga imagination and self-conceit — to the 
opinions oi fallible, or the views of designing men. 

Thus, Druidism Was removed but a few paces further from 
the rdigion of Noah, than popery, and some other modes of 
worship, denominated Christian, are departed from the faith, 
the purity, and the simplicity of the gospel. Wherefore it 
behoves all men, who build their hopes upon the religion of 
Christ, not to place an implicit confidence in the practice 
of a corrupt age, or in the principles of an arfbgant and 
presumptuous teacher; but to have a constant eye to the 
foundation once laid by the apostles and prophets. , 

K K 

• St. Paul's Epistl* to the Romans, Chap, I, 


Here another rematlt of some iffiportaflce offers itse^. 

As Gentilisai arose from a corruption oT the patriarchal 
religion, it is reasoaahle to suppose that amongst a multi- 
plicity of errors and absurditi«s, it preserve^ liOUJe tiwctju* 
of the venerable source from whence at sprung : in the 
same manner as popery is acknowledge^^ s^til to, possess 
some of the genuine forms and traiets of primitive Chris- 
itianity; and a diligent comparison of heatheji systems ^ith 
the hook of Job, and the first book of Moses, wiU -evince 
that this was actually the case. 

Whatever Gentilism had thus preseJved without corrkip- 
tion, must' be regarded as derived- from the fevelatron^ 
vouchsafed to the patriarchs, and therefore, in its origin, 
of Divine authority, like those uacorr«pt«sdr. forms and 
tenets in popery, wHich are derived from the truth of the 

We are not, therefore, to conclude, a priori, thateye^-y 
form of sacrifice, every rite of purification, every sacred 
symbol, or even every fundamental doctrine, which may 
have prevailed amongst the ancient heathens, was of hd- 
man device, and therefore could have nothing similM^,;to 
it in the revealed will and ordinances of the. Sapreme 
Being. For this mode of argupient , would lead us. to 
conclusions, as unjust as the cavils of those scrupulous 
persons, who assert, that the church of Englatiid must Ije 
superstitious, because it retains some of the forms of tl^e 
church of jRowze. i 

As this church has retained somejsi the institutea of true 
Christianity, so Gentilism had not lost every institute of 
the patriarchal religion: and these uncorrupted institutes 
are piiffe and sacred, notwithstanding- the general corruption 
of the channels through which thejt have flowed. 


Upon this ground, we may frame an answer to tlJose 
edversaries of revelation, who having observed, that some 
modes of sacr^e, some rites of, purification, some sacred 
symbols, and many other particulars, sanctioned in the 
■writings of "Moses and the prophets, have their parallel in 
tJie religion of Egypt, Syria, or Chaldea, boldly assert, 
that these things were adopted from the heathens, and, con- 
sequently, that the writings of the Old Testament^ and 
the religion of the Jews, could not have been of Pivine 

The answer is ready. As God had revealed his will, 
and instituted a form of worship, by the prophets of the 
primitive world, Adam, Enoch, and Noah^ so, when the 
primitive religion was corrupted by the vanity and wicked- 
ness of mankind, he renewed this revelation to the Israelites 
by Moses, and the prophets of the Old Testament. 

That Spirit, which has neither variableness nor shadow 
df turning, again inculcated to his chosen people the' same 
expectation of the promised Redeemer, figured out by the 
same symbolical types, which had been communicated to the 
patriarchs. And as the Gentiles also had retained some 
vestiges of the true primitive religion, an occasional analogy 
between their forms and symbols, and those of the Israelites, 
was a consequence that necessarily followed. 

As certain rites and symbols were Enjoined to the Is- 
Taelitesj not because they were heaithenish, but because 
they were patriarchal, and of divine institution, so they 
•were not omitted, in consequence of the mere accident, that 
the Gentiles had retained them. 

The word of God, that word, of which every jot and tittli 
must be fulfilled, never turns to the right hand, nor to the 
left — never gives way to the error, or the petulence of man. 

K K 2 


-from the general- and unequivocal vestiges 'of j^rftiVe 
mythology, which were impressed upon the hieathen worlds 
some otlier important inferences may be drawn. 

. As the united voice of the early ages, they forcibly, recal 
the candid sceptic, if such there be, to the acknowledgment 
of the true, that is, the scriptural account of the delug^ 
and the consequent rejection of all those astronomical and 
geological fables, which, plunge the origin of mankind 
into the abyss of unfathomable antiquity, and thus open 
the gap into the regions of darkness, and infidel delusion. 
Xet reason only Jbe consistent with itself, in exploring even 
the history of heathenisni,vand it must ackaowledgie thg 
truth of our sapied oracles. 

The general voice of mythology, to which I maj now 
add that of the sequestered Briton, admits, that the per- 
sonage who escaped in- his bark from the great deluge, was 
distinguished from the mass of perishing mortals by a di- 
vine providence, and miraculously preserved, on account of 
liis piety and righteousness. 

This attestation to the character of the great patriarch, 
.atidfrom the mouth of heathenism itself, not only asseris tfeje 
authenticity of his history, but also the truth of, his reli- 
gion, as a man whose faith and conduct were eminently 
approved by heaven. And this religion regarded man as 
-morally nesiporisible to one supreme and •Over-ruUng God, 
•who mercifully accepted the offerings and the pei"sons -of 
•those w|io sincerely obeyed him, and pardoned their cS- 
jfences, through the inerits of a Redeemer, announced to 
our first parents. . • 

, A P F E N B I X, 

coNsiSTiNo or 









J. HESE poems and extracts from the ancient Bards,' 
lieing i%strative of the several subjects discussed in the' 
preceding Essay, are subjoined with the originals at large, 
for the satisfaction of the antiquarian reader. 

No. I. 

JL Song of Taliesin, concerning the Sons of Ll^r.* 

Golychaf i Gulwydd, Arglwydd pob echen, 
Arbennig torfoedd ynhyoedd am Ordden, 
Ceint yn ysp^'ddawd, uch gwirawd aflawen:. 
Ceint rhag meibion Jilyr, yn ebyr Hen, Felen^ 
Gweleis treis trydar ac afar ac anghen : 
Yd lethrynt la.fnawr ar bennawr disgywen 

* W. Archaiol. p. 66. Lhfr implies the sea, or the sea-beach. Tliis name 
' t%s a co^tant reference to the rites of the .I)ilj>vian god- .It .has been con- 
ferred upon his priests and eminent votaries. The sons of Lhjr may denatSt . 
%n gentital, those who had been initiated in the Hiysteries of the Pruids. 


502 APPENDIX. No. I. 

Ceinl rhag Udd Clodeu, yn noleu Hafren; 
Rhag Brochwel Powys, a garwys fy awen. 
Ceint yn addfwyn rodle, ym more, rhag Urien ; 
Yn ewydd am an traed gwaed ar ddi'en. 
Neud amug ynghadeir 6 heir Ceridwen ! 
Hand id rydd fy nhafawd, 

Yn addawd gwawd Ogyrvven. 

I will adore the love-diffhsing Lord* of every kindred, 
the sovereign of hosts and powers, round the universe. 

There has been a battle f at the feast, over the joyless 
Iseverage — a battle against the sons of Llyr, at the outlets 
of Hgn Velen. 

I saw the oppressipn of tumult, and wrath, and tribu- 
lation, when the blades gleamed on the glittering helmets 
in battle, against the Lord of Fame, in the dales of tlie 
Severn — against Brochwel J of Powys, who loved my 

There was a battle in the glorious course, before Urien,§ 
with the dawn: blood flowed in streams roimd our feet, 
when death prevailed. 

Is not my chair protected by the cauldron of Ceridwen ! || 

* The Bard speaks of one supreme God, as acknowledged by the ancie&t 
Sraids, together with their subordinate divinities, Ceridwen, Elphin, &c. whoae 
names occur in this poem. 

+ Of the three battles here mentioned, the first. naine]y,.that against the sons 
of Llyr, or the Bards, at the/eas< seems to have been the same which toolt place 
in the avenues or outlets of Stonehenge, which is here called Hen, Velen, the 
eld Belenium, or temple of Apollo. — See the songs of the Gododin. 

I Brochwel was prince of the country, about the dales of the Severn, in 
the sixth century. In his old age, he commanded the Britons in th6 merao< 
rable battle of Chester, A. D. 603. 

V ^ j^° °^ Reged, a warlike prince of the sixth century. Hisyfarae is ce- 
lebrated m many songs of Taliesin, and his death lamented by Llywargh 

II The cauldron, and the sanctuary of Cttithven, have betn considered, 

Stct. 3 and 4. 

No. I. APPENDIX, |03 

Therefore, let my tongue be free, in tlie sanctuary of the, 
praise of the goddess. 


Gwawd Ogyrwen Uferen rwy ddigones 

Arnunt, a llefrith a gwlith a m^s. 

Ystyriem yn Uwyr, cyn clwyr cyffeS, 

Dyfod yn ddiheu angheu nSs n§s : 

Ac am diredd Enlli dy vi dylles ; 

Dyrchavvr Uong^wr ,ar glawr ^ches. 

A galwn ar y gwr a'n digones, 

A'b nothwy vhagigwyth Uwyth anghes. 

Pan alweif ynys'Von tirion vaes, , 

Gwyn eu byd hwy'gwleiddiori Saeson artriSs. , 

The praise of the goddess is a mas$,* which has com- 
pletely atoned for them, with new milk, and dew, an6 


. Xet us porider deeply, before confession is heard, that 
^eatl\is evidently approaching nearer and nearer, and tha* 
tor the lands of Bardsey,f there will be an inroad. — A fleet 
shall rise on the face of the water. Let us then call upon 
ism whom we have found sufficient, that he may prote(^ 
MS from the wrath of the alien race. 

— When_the Isle of Mona shall be called a pleasant field, J 
then happy the lot of the meek ^nation, whom the Saxons 

• Of ohlation, in behalf of the fallen wauiors. 

In this passage, we may remark the bigotry with which the Bards continued 

to honour the imaginary gods of their forefathers, notwithstanding they ac- 

• knowledged the being of one love-diffusing Lord of the universe. Are there not 

Nominal Chrrstians in the present^ day, chargeable with practices no (ess 

absurd or impious ! 

f It appears from several passages, that this spot, as well iis Mona, was 
sacred to the ancient superslitioh. ; ,, , ,, 

, } Thus Merddin, the Caledonian, in his Avallennau. — '• When I'yvnaRt 
*'' shall be named the eily of stones; the Bard shall receive his perquisite," 

504 APPENDIX. No. L 


Doddwyf Deganhxvy i amryson 
A Maelgwn, mwyaf ei achwyson : 
EUyngais fy Arglwydd, yngwydd Deon; 
Elphin Pendefig, ri hodigion. 
Yssid imi deir cadeir, cy^veir, cysson ; 
Ac yd frawd parhawd gan Gerddorion. 
Bum ynghat Goddeu, gan Lieu a Gwydion, 
Wy a rithwys gwydd elfydd ag elestron. 
Bum i gan Vran yn Iwerddon. 
Gweleis pan laddwyd morddwyd Tyllon. 
Cigleu gyfarfod am gerddoridn, 
A Gwyddyl, diefyl diferogion. 
O Benrhyn VIeth hyd Luch Reon, 
Cymry yn unfryd, gwrhyd wriop. 

I came to Teganwy to maintain the contest witfe 
Maelgwn,* the greate&t of delinquents : in the presence of 
Deon t (the Distributor), I liberated my Lord, even El' 
j)Aew,;J: the sovereign of those who carry ears ofcom.% 

I have three presidencies, complete and concordant, and 
till the doom shall they ifemain with the tuneful tribe^\\ I was 
in the battle of purposes viitla. Lieu and Gwydion,^ who set 

• Tl?e Maglocunus. of Gildas— Lord of North Wales, from A. D. 517, t» 
546, and then naminal soTei^igQ of the Briton;, to the time of his death, abpat , 
thr, jear 560. 

■i A Me ot Wv, Bacchus, ar tibtr Paler, the Helio^rkit* god. Thu* Af.- 
pendix. No. 11. 
" Hu, with the expanded wings— O father Deon !" 

t See his character and connexions in the 3^ Section. . 

$ That is, the priests or votaries of Cetcs. 

I Or masters tf Bardic lore. 

^ LUu, the lti,minary, was the father of UinmiCf the Diluvian patriarelv 
PioyrfioB was the ]ij^ritish Hermti. See the Chair of Ceriiuiai, in Sect 3. By 
wffiiigtii order tlie ekmmtary trees, is implied, lavine. the frit foundati*n ^ 

Wri^tdit jnemottals, ' ■* ■ ■» ^ -* •' f 

No. I. APPENDIX. 505 

in order the elementary trees and plants.* I was with 
Brdnf in Ireland. I saw when the thigh of Tyllon was 
cut. I heard the conference, respecting the Bards, with 
the Gwyddelian, polluted fiends. 

From the promontory of BlethJ to Lluch Reon> the 
Cymry are of one mind, exercising fortitude. 

Gwaret dy Gymry ynghymelri ! 

Teir cenedl gwythlawn, o iawn deithi, 

Gwyddyl, a Brython, a Khomani, 

A wahan dyhedd a dyvysgi : 

Ac am dierfyn Prydein, cein ei threfi, 

Ceint rhag teyrnedd, uch medd lestri, 

Yngheinion Deon, i'm a'i dyroddi : 

A'n dwy ben sywed Ced ryferthi. 

Ys cyweir fy nghadeir, ynghaer Sidi : 

Nis plawdd haint a henaint a fo yndi. 

Ys gwyr Manawjd a Phryderi, 

Tair Orian, y am dan, a gan rhegddi ; 

Ac am ei banneu ffrydieu gweilgi, 

A'r ifynawn ffrwythlawn yssydd odduchti. 

*'Ele$tren, more particularly, mean the water liliet, or Jiagt-^the Lotos of 
the Druids. 

^ Bran ap Llyr, Raven, son (>f the ua, was the traditional father of the 
celebrated Caractacus. He first introduced the mystical cauldron into Ireland, 
probably with a view to secure his mysteries from the; persecutions of the invad- 
ing Romans.^-Sets Turner's Vindic p. 283. 

The name of this Ciluvian priest is referable to the raveh of Noah. 

Our mystical Bard, like Pythagoras of old, pretends to have been present in 
the transactions of various ages. As he held in the doctrine of Metempsychosis, 
he blended his own personal character, with that of the TalUtim, or priests of 
the sun, who had gone before him. 

i Perhaps .Bfatum of the Itinerary — ^Bu2ni>, at the West eiid ef the wall q^ 
Severus, Liuch Riion, the chief seat of the Northern Druids. — See Sect. 5. 

Oiie of the great mai(imi of the Dntids itU^At^^tiat OfXitv, to uercififoT' 
iitade. Diog.Laert. 

506 APPENDIX. No. I. 

Ys whegach no'r gvvin gwyn y Ilyn yndi— 
Ac wedi ath iolaf, Oraehaf, cyn gweiyd, 
Gorod cymmod a thi ! , 

Deliver thou the Cymry, in the hour of tribulation! 
Three tribes, cruel from native disposition, the Gwydde- 
lians, the Britons,* and the Romans, disturb owr tran- 
quillity with their tumults': and round the borders of Britain, 
with its fair dwellings, they contend for the sovereignty, 
over vessels of mead, f even in the pavilions of the dis- 
tributor, who bestowed it upon me. The inundation will 
surround us, the chief priests of K6d. 

Yet complete is my chair in Caer Sidi, % neither disorder 
nor age will oppress him that is within it. It is , Known to 
Manawyd and Pryderi, that three loud strains round the 
fire, will be sung before it, whilst the currents of die sea 
are round its borders, and t^e copious foimtain is open 
from above, the liquor within it is sweeter than , delicious 
wine. „ ( ; I 

And after I shall have worshipped thee^ O thon Most 
High, before I am covered with the sod, may I be found 
in covenant with thee ! § , ; 

* The Srython, when distinguislied from the Cymry, or primitive inhabitants, 
seem to have been thf Belgian tribes, whom the Triads place, in the North, as 
wi'll as the South of Briton. 

+ An allusion to the bloody feast, on the Cursns, at Stonehenge, where Depn, 
or Hu, held his court. Taliesin, as chief Druid, and vicegerent of this god, 
and of Kid, or Ceres, claims the sovereignty of tlie British Island. Had his 
religion been in full establishment, he would have been acknowledged as supteiHe 
judge, from whose t|ficree there would have been no appeal. Merd^diii, was 
styled Sufreine Judge of the North, in ihe sixth century. '" ' " 

$ In this passage, our Bard borrows his imagery from Diluvian'mythology, 
and represents his sanctuary as a type of the ark. 

§ This sentiment often occurs in the old Bards.— It seems to, express some 
degree of dissatisfaction in their heathenish mummery, and to import a vow of 
Becoming Christiafas.-soiuetime before their death.— See the first stanza cfthft 
loUowing poem, •" 

No. II. APPENDIX. 507 

No. II. 

A Poem of Taliesin, called Mic Dinbych, a View of the 
Bardic Sanctuary.* 
Archaf y'wen i Dduw plwyf esgori. 
Perchen n£v a Ikwr, pwyll fawr wofri, 
Addfwyn Gaer y sydd, av GJawr Gweilgi? 
Bid llawen yrighalan eirian y ri ; 
Ac amser pan wna m6r mawr wrhydri, 
Ys gnawd gorun Beirdd uch medd lestri. 
i)yddybydd gwaneg, ar frys, dybrys iddi, 
A ddaw hwynt i werlas o glas Fichti ; 
Ac am bwyf, O Ddews, dros fy ngweddi. 
Pan gattwyf ammod cymmod a thi ] 

I will address my prayer to God, that he would deliver 
our cotnmunity. +— 

O thou Proprietor of heaven and earth, to whom great 
"Wisdom is attributed, a holy sanctuary there is on the sur- 
face of the ociean : may its chief be joyful in the splendid 
festival, and at the time when the sea rises with expanding 
energy ! 

Frequently does the surge asail the Bards, pver their 
vessels of mead : and on the day when the billows are ex- 
cited, may this inclosure skim away, though the billows 
come beyond the green spot, from the region of the 

And, O God! May I be, for the sake of my ^rayeify 
though I preserve my institute, in covenant with thee I 

* W. ArcUajol. p. 67. 

+ the whole language of this Bardic prayer, is strongly tinctured with the 
Diluviani or Arkite lore of the Druids. 

- 1 Tlie same Northero people with the Brythm, mentioned in the piecediDS 
poenji •■ 

50a APPENDIX. No. II. 

Addfwyn Gaer y sydd, ar lydan lyn, 
Dinas diachoE, m6r a'i cylchyn. 
Gvgyvarch ti, Prydein, cwdd gyngein hyn? 
Blaen llyn ab Erbin boed.teu voyn : 
Bu gosgordd, a b\i cerdd, yn eil mehyn, 
Ac eryr, uch wybn allwybr Gtranwyn, 
Rhag Udd ffelig, nag esgar gychwyn. 
Clod wasgar, a Gwanar ydd ymddullyn. 

A holy sanctuary there is, on the: wide lake ; a city not 
protected with walls ; the sea Surrounds it. Demandest 
thou, O Britain, to what this can be meetly applied! 
Before the lake of the son of Erbiii, let thy ox be" sta- 
tioned * — there, where there has been a retinue, and in the 
second place, a procession, and an eagle aloft in the sky, 
q,nd the path , of Granwyn before the pervading sovereign, 
who would not deviate for the tumult of those who dis.. 
parage our praise, though they, were marshalled by their 


Addfwyn Gaer y sydd ar don nawfed, 
Addfwyn ei gwerin yn ymwared : 
Ni wnant eu dwyn cyty trwy feflh'aed ; 
Nit ef eu defawd bod yn galed. 
Ni lefaraf au, ar fy nhrwydded ; 

* The Bard, by an enigmatical description, reminds his countrymen of 
the ancient solemnities connected with the iqsalai; sanctuary.— 1. The sacred 
ttx of the patriarch, the Ych Banawg, is stationed before the lake, ready to 
draw the Avaiie pr Shrine to land, out of its watery repository, — S. It is the. 
lake of Ermnt ab Ertin, or of 'the vessel of the Itifty chiefs, — 3. The retinue of 
priests assembled on the occasion, and joined in the mystical procession. — i. The 
eagle, or symbol of the sun, was placed aloft in the sfcj(, that is, in the open 
athereal temple, which is often so called. — 5. There ,was the representation 
of the path of. Gr^nwyn^ or Apollor-^an image of the ecliptic, in which the 
pomp was conducted^ preceded by the waving eagle. — And 6, this was done 
in the presence of the great sovereign, or the sun himself — that is, . it was 4 
diuro»l selebiaden, whiclt cosuiienlced at th« iawn, — Se« No. i. 

No.-II. APPENDIX. 509 

Nog eillion deudraeth gwell caeth t)yved. 
Cyweithydd ,o rydd wledd waredied ; 
Cynnwys rhwng ,pob deu goreu ciwed. 

A holy sanctuary there is, upon the ninth wave. Holy 
are its inhabitants, in preserving themselves. They will 
not associate in the bonds of pollution. It is not their es- 
tablished custom to act with severity. I will not abuse my 
privilege, in declaring a falsehood. The restrained man of 
Dyved* is better than the shaved ones, of the two strands. 

-If our associate gives the banquet of the Preservers 1"^ 
mutual harmony amongst brethren is the best society. 
■ 4. 

Addfvvyn Gaer y sydd: a'i gwna cyman, 
Meddut, amolut, at adar ban. 
Llyfn ei cherddau, yn ei chalan : 
A'm Arglwydd hywydd, iJea>r eirian, 
Cyn ei fyned yn ei adwyd, yn derfyn llan, 
Ef a'm rhoddes medd a gwiii o wydrifl ban. 
A holy sanctuary there is-^it is rendered complete by the 
rehearsal, the hymn and , the birds of the mountain ."J 
Smooth are its lays> . in its periodical festival-: and my lord,§ 
duly observant of the splendid mover, before he entered his 
earthly cell, in the border of the circle, -gave me mead and 
wine out of t,he deep crystal cup. . 

Addfvvyn Gaer y sydd yn yr.Eglan; 
Addfwyn y i'hoddir, i bawb, ei ran. 

* Demetia^ Fembtokeshire, aiid \^e neighbouring dist^icts^. 

+ The Cabwi» the deities of Arkite, inytholbg/.'-"Sde CndaiT^Ctriiietn, in 
the third Section, . 

X The Bard distinguisUes three pstticalars in the business of his sanctiiary. 
1. The rehearsal of ancient lore. 3. The chaunting of hymns, in honour of 
the gods. 3. ,The interpretation of their will, by bjrds of augury. 

§ T'lte hierophaiit^ by whom the Bard, had been initiated, and of whom be 

bad received thewead and wine, or the YLfmWv of the British Ceres. 

510 APPENDIX. No. II. 

Adwen, yn Ninbych, gorwen Gwylan, 
Cyweithydd wlewMjudd, Udd Erlyssan : 
Oedd ef fy njewaasdd^ nos Galan, 
Lleddfawd y.gan ri, ryfel eiran, 
A lien, Uiw ehoeg, a meddn prain ; 
Hyn a fwyf tafawd ar feirdd Prydain. 
A hpiy sanctuary there is, within the gulf; there, every 
one is kindly presented with his portion. 

I knew the eminently white sea-mew * in Dinbych — the 
meek associate — the lord of the supreme court: it was my 
custom to attend, on the eve of the festival, to what the 
ruler sweetly sung (the war of the splendid one+) with my 
robe of bright green,J possessing a place in the asstembly. 
Hence my word is paramount over the Bards of Britain. 

Addfwyn Gaer y sydd, a,'i cyffrwy Ced wn ; 

Oedd meu eirhydau, a ddewisswn. 

Ni lyfaraf i daifh rhaith rysgattwn: 

Ni ddyly celenhig ni wyppo hwn. 

Ysgrifen Brydain, ■ bryder brifFwn; 

Yn yd wna tonneu eu hamgyffrwn, 

Pe reit, hyd bell- i gell attreiddwn. 

* By the description which is "given of this sta-mew, it is evident, he was no 
other than the hieiophant, or chief Druid, mentioned above. Hywel, the son 
of Owen, describes the Druids under the same figure. The choice of this 
aquatic bird as their symbol, arose from their Arkite rites, and Diluvian my> 
thology. Amongst the ancients, the sea mew was the symbol of Minerva, 'as 
an Arkite goddess. — See Faber's CaiirU V. I. p. 106. 185j &c. 

The sanctuary, or sacred island, which was fabled to have wandered from 
place to place, like the ark of old, now fixes itself ftpon the border of the ' 
flood, and proves to be the insular spot, now containing the town of Tenby, in 
Pembrokeshire : for it is evident, from -what the Bard had said before, that he 
means Dinbych, in Drfoed. This is bat a jsmall distance from Arlierth, High 
Grove, the chief seat of the mystical Pwyll, See Sect. V. 

f Probably, some ancient and sacred poem upon the adventures of the He- 
tio-arkite god. 

J Green was the colour of the ovate, or of him who had already been ini- 
tiated into the first pciaciplet of Bardism, 6ce Owen's Diet. \.'Glain and 

No. 11. APPENDIX. 5U 

A holy sanctuary there is, with its productions of the 
vessel of K6d*— I ipossEssed myself of its courses, which I 
had made my choicei I will not disclose the progress of 
the law, which I religiously observe. He who knows not 
this, is not entitled to the perquisite at the festival. 

The waitings oi Britaik-^ areAe first object of anxious 
regard : should the iwaves disturb their foundation, I would 
again, if necessary, conceal them deep in the cell; 

Addfwyji Gaer y sydd yn arddwyrejn : 
Gqchawn y meddut y molut gyfrein. 
Addfwyn, ar ei hSr, esgor gynrhein. 
Godde gwrych,dymbi, Mr ei hadein, 
Dychyrch bar earreg, creg ei hadnein. 
Llid y mewn tyriged : treidded troth mein ; 
A bleiddud gorllwyd goreu affein. 
Dimpyner, odduch pwy, Lllad cofein. 
Bendith culwydd nef gydlef afein 
Arnyn, gwnel yn frowyr gorwyr Owein, 

A holy sanctuary there is, exalting itself on high. The 
small reeds, with joined points,' declare its praise : fair, in, 
its borders, the first points shoot forth. 

, f„Tihe cauldron of ^spirftion, implying the mysteries of 'Bardism. ' See 
Sect. III. 

+ Or writings of _Prt/tJain, wljp^was.fjie same,as,jHn, See Ko. 11.. We may 
gather from hence, that the Druids had certain ancient writings, which they 
deemed more sacred by far, and of greater importance, than those songs and 
tales, which were made 'piibltc, or recited in the ears of the people. These 
writing?, had already been concealed in.timea of persecution, probably doVipg 
the.Rpjnan government : and they were knawn only to the Druids, or Bards 6f 
ithe highest oirdeir; forTaliesin tells usj thaitin case of necessityii he possessed 
the effectual means, of concealing them against We can only guess, in general, 
that these arcana comprehended the saoced history, and rituals of the Drnids, 
together with tiie rules .of idivination, and most mysterious doctrines of the an- 
cient priesthood. . . 

.i'rojn the beginning of. the .next stanza, it appears that thiscode was com- 
posed in the.,my.sticjil charaqteis of the Baras>, consisting of reedst and the 
points; and shoots qf trees. > , Tff this kind, of writing.T^lifesin alludes, when ^e 
«ayj — •• I know every reed, or twig, in tne cavS Jt the chief diviner." ' 

512 APPENDIX. No. II. 

A cormorant approaches me,* with long wings. She 
assaults the top of the stone with her hoarse clamour. — 
There is wrath in the fates! Let it burst through the stones! 
Contention is meet only amongst the grey wolves. The 
memorials of Ukd shall be secured from the assault. May 
the blessing of the beneficent Ruler of heaven, who is 
harmoniously praised in the heights, be upon them; and 
may he make the late posterity of Owen possessors of the 
land ! 


Addfvvyn Gaer y sydd ar Ian Lliant : 

Addfwyn yd roddir i bawb i chwant. 

Gogyfarch ti fyned — boed teu fwyant — 

Gwaywawr ryn rein a dderllyssant. 

Duw Merchyr gweleis wyr ynghyfnofant : 

Dyfieu bu gwarthau a amugant. 

Ag ydd oedd friger coch ag och ardant 

Oedd lludwed fyned dydd y doethant. 

Ac am gefn Llech Va^lwy cylchwy friwant. 

Cwyddyn y gan gefn Uu o Garant. 

A holy sanctuary there is, upon the margin of tlie 
flood: there shall every one be kindly presented with his 

I warn thee to depart ! f Thau be prosperous ! Spearmen, 
with vibrating spears, will occupy the spot. On the day 
of Mercury, I saw men in mutual enjoyment : on the day 

* Here vie perceive the augur in the solemn exercise of his divining art— 
the cormorant, a bird of ill omen> denounces an approBchiag persecution. 
The Druid compi-ehenda the hint, and conceals his sacred memorials. UAJ, ib 
other passages, is a name of the Arkite goddess. In Taliesin's Angar Cyvyn- 
dawd, she is represented as the mother of the Celtic Apollo. Her memoriali 
seem to imply the same tiding as the writings of Ptydam, mentioned above. 

f After the Bard had received the omen from the cormorant, and concealed 
his memorials, he still persists in celebrating his holy sanctuary, till he is inter- 
rupted by a repeated message from some bird of ouguryk protecting spirit, et 
brother Djuii, whs teems to speak to the end of the stanza. 

No. III. APPEND^. 513 

of Jove, there was a dispEtragement of what they had 

The hair was red with hlood, and theire Was claraourous 
woe. There were funeral processions on the day when they 
arrived. They will break the circle behind the flat sfohe of 
!R|aelwy. Let the multitude of Out friends retirci 

No. III. 

A Poem of Tailiesin, called PreidDeu Annwn, T/jc 
Spoils of the Deep.* 

I HAVE had repeated occasion to mention this piece in 
the preceding sections : but before I insert it at lengthy it 
may be proper to observe, that Mr. Turner has introduced 
it in his Vindication, with the following preface. 

" There is so much of Taliesin's poetry, which nb on« 
" can understand, that I cannot but pkce him, in point of 
" intrinsic merit, below the other Bards J although, in. 
" the estimation of his countrymeii, he seems to have been 
" ranked in a superior class. His Cad Goddeu, The Battle 
" of the Trees, is eminently incomprehensible j and so are 
*' others. That I may not be thought to condemn him 
"unjustly, I will beg leave to present the reader with his 
" poe'rii, called Preiddeu Annwn, The Spoils of Afinwii. 

" If its allusidns are at all historical, they are too much 
^' involved in mythology, to be comprehended. In his mead 
*' song, there is a connected train of thought : in the fok 
" lowing poem, all connexion of thought seems to have 
" been studiously avoided." ' 

r 1 

- ■ ■ -• ' I i l . I I ■■ 1 . Ill I II ■ I I ' . ail I I . I . V * ■ -■ 

* W. AicbMel. p. 4$. 


The author adds this note. 

" It is, however, fair to remark, that if the Mabinogion, 
" and all the Welsh remains, were to be accurately studied, 
" it is propable, that enojigh might be gathered from them, 
" to elucidate some of the allusions of Taliesin to the opi- 
" nions, tales, and traditions of his day. This wouW make 
" intelligible many passages, now obscure." 

I may be thought rather too adventurous, in encountering 
this select specimen of, incpmprtfeemibility, which was no 
less enigmatical to the chair of Glamorgan, than to the 
learned Vindicator of the Bards: but if I succeed in point- 
ing out a due connexion of thought throughout the poem ; 
if I can satisfa,Gtorily prove, that the Bard alludes, with 
consistency and accuracy, to the mysteries of the British 
Bacchus and Ceres ; that he connects these mysteries with 
Diluvian mythology; and that he represents them as the 
basis of tlie Bardic or Druidical system; then I may be 
allowed to presume, that I possess the true key to the mys- 
tical poems, and to the adytum of Biitisli superstition. 
At the same time, I am ready to admit, that another hand 
might be more dexterous in moving the rusty wards,, which 
^uard these mysteries." 

" In order to make the experiment, I shall, first of all, 
state, that the subject of the poem is the mythology of tite 
deluge, and the mysteries which were celebrated in commemo- 
ration of it. 


Golychaf wlcdig, pendefig,, gwl?id ri. 
P6 ledas y pennaeth, tros drapth'Mundi; 


Bu cywair carchar Gwair, ynghaer Sidi. 

Trwy ebostol Pwyll a Phryderi, : 

Neb cyn nog ef nid aeth iddi. 

Y gadwyn dromlas, cywirwas, ai cedwi ; 

A rhag preiddeu Annwfn tost yd geni: 

Ac, yd frawd, parahawd yn Barddweddi ; 

Tri Uoneid Prydvven ydd aetham ni iddi ; 
, Namyn Saith, ni dyrraith o ;Gaer Sidi. 
. " I will adore the sovereign, the supreme ruler of thtf 
" land. If he extended his dominion over the shores of 
" the world, yet in good order was the prison of Gwair, 
" in the inclosure of /SzW. Through the mission of Pwyll 
*' and Pryderi, no one before him entered into it. 

" The heavy blue chain didst thou, , O just man, endure; 
" and for the spoils of the deep, woful is thy song ; and 
" till the doom shallit remain in ,the Bardic prayer — Thrice 
" the number that weuidluvoe filled Prydwen, we entered into 
" the deep. ; excepting seven, none have returned from Caer 
*' Sidi.", 

In this first stanza, we find the Bard acknowledging the 
existence of one supreme God, and declaring his resolution 
to adore him, because he had shewn respect to Gwair, the just 
man, and preserved the inclosure of Ceipr Sidi, in wh^ch 
he had shut him up, at the time when he extended his 
dominions over the shores of the world, or sent forth tlie • 
universal deluge. The Supreme Being was, therefore, 
adored, for his beneficent providence, which had distin- 
guished the just man, and preserved him , through a calamity 
which overwhelmed the world. This, I conceive, was a 
genuine principle of., the patriarchal religion. 

I have already observed, that Gwair, the principal per- 
son who escaped this catastrophe, was the patriarch Noah. 
The Triads represent this Gwair, with, his family, as con- 
fined in the prisoi^ .of Oeth ag Anoeth, Wdth, and the 

L L 2 


remission of wrath, from which none of his descendants, to 
the latest posterity, attempted to escape. The allegory 
implies, that as the patriarch, with his faiiiily, had been 
shut up in the ark, so the Druids acknowledged those only 
as his legitimate descendants, who were brought within 
the pale of Arkite mysteries, and who religiously preserved 
the laws of their institution. 

The prison of Gwair is here called Caer Sidi. This has 
been explained above, as implying, in the first place, the 
ark, in which the patriarch and his family were inclosed ; 
secondly, the circle of the zodiac, in which their luminous 
emblems, the sun, moon, and planets, revolved; thirdly, 
the sanctuary of the British Ceres, which represented both 
the ark and the zodiac. 

The other Caers, mentioned in the conclusion of the 
several stanzas, are allusive to the same history, and may be 
regarded as so many titles of the ark : thus, 

Caer Bediwyd, the inclosure of the inhabitants of the 
world — the ark, which contained all that was living; or, 
Caer Mediwyd, the inclosure of the perfect ones, or of the 

Caer Ri-gor, the inclosure of the roi/al assembly-^oi the 
patriarch and his sons, who were kings of the world. 

Caer Golur, the gloomy inclosure — the ark, which was 
closed up, so as to exclude the light. 

Caer Vandwy, the inclosure resting on the height. 

Caer Ochren, the inclosure whose side produced life. 

The patriarch entered his inclosure, through the mission, 
«r apostleship (which, I fear, implies a profane scoff at the 
gospel), of Pwyll and Pryderi, reason or prudence, and 
serious meditation. It has been seen, that these ideas were 
personified in British mythology, and that their ^listory 
relates to the deluge and Arkite mysteries. In the vale of 
tKe Boat, Pwyll was met by Arawn, pendaran, the Arkite 

No. ril. APPENDIX. .517 

7ord of thunder, who commissioned him to take the go- 
vernment of the deep into his own hands for a whole 
year, &c.* 

The ehain mentioned by our Bard, was the symbol of that 
confinement, which the just man ,had endured; and of the 
restraint to which those pf his descendants, who were ini- 
tiated into Arkite mysteries, patiently submitted. 

The woful song of the patriarch implies his pensive rer 
. flection upon thp multitudes which had been swept away by 
the deluge. At the conclusion of the other stanzas, the 
Bard repeats the same reflection, with some variety of ex- 
pression, as the burden of his own song. 

Frydwen, sometimes inentioned as the shield of the my- 
thological Arthur, was more properly his ship, and a title 
of the ark. It is derived from Prud, beauty, the general 
order of things,, ^Koi^M^; and Wen, which marks a female 
character — The lady of beauty, The lady of the world, who 
had carried all its surviving inhabitants. According to the 
mythology of our Bard, thrice the number of men which 
would have filled the ark, embarked in their vessels on the 
deep; but none escaped, excepting the patriarch, and the 
seven, who were inclosed with him in Caer Sidi. 

Let u? now go on to the second stanza. 

Neud wyf glod geymyn cercjd, o chlywid, 
Ynghaer Pedryfan pedyr y chwelid ! 
Ynghynneir o'r pair pan leferid, 
Oanadl naw morwyn gochynnessid, 
Neu pair pen Annwfn : pwy y vynud ? 
Gwrym am ei oror, a mererid, 
Ni beirw bwyd llwfr, ni rydyngid. 

» See Sect V. 

518 APPENDIX No. Ill; 

Cleddyf lluch, lleawc, iddaw rydderchid : 
Ac yn Haw Lleminawg ydd edewid : 
A rhag drws porth Uffern Uugyrn Uoscid — 
A phaa aetham ni gan Arthur trafFerth Uethrid, 
Namyn Saith, ni ddyrraith o Gaer Vediwid. 

" Am I not contending for the praise of that lore, if it 
« were regarded, which was four times reviewed in the qua- 
" drangular incisure !* As the first sentence was it uttered 
" from the cauldron, which began to he warmed by the 
" breath of the nine damsels. Is not this the cauldron of 
♦' the ruler of the deep ! What is its quahty ? With the 
" ridge of pearls round its border, it will not boil the 
" food of a coward, who is not hound by his sacred oath. 
" Against him will be lifted the bright gleaming sword: 
" and in the hand of the swordrbearer shall he be left : and 
" before the entrance of the gate of hell, shall the horns 

" of light be burning. And when we went with Arthur 

" in his splendid labours, excepting seven, iione returned from 
" Caer Vediwid." 

The , Bard here insists upon the peculiar sanctity of the 
lore which he taught. It had been four times revised in 
the sacred cell, or Adytum, before it was uttered, as the 
first sentence, or fundamental- doctrine of the mystical caul- 
dron of Ceridwen, and the Tuler of the deep. The subject 
of this sacred vase has been alre'ady introduced. It im-:- 
plies, metaphorically, the whole system of Arkite mysteries 
amongst the Druids, in the same manner as the baptismql 
font stands as an emblem of the Christian religion. 

The cauldron had been first warmed' by the breath of 
nine damsels, or prepared by those Arkite prjestesses, called 
GwylUon and Seon, The same cauldron, as typifying the 

* Or the inclpsuie irhicb batl four aTeniits or passiges, pointing diffemit 


sacred mysteries, communicated science, wisdom, virtue, 
happiness, and even immortality ; but it would not pre- 
pare the food of the coward, the remiss or refractory per- 
son, who wanted yesol\ition and fortitude to preserve the 
institues of his order, or who disregarded the dreadful 
oath, with which he had bound himself, at the time of ad- 

The fate of such a wretch is described in the^next sen- 
tence — " Against him will be lifted the bright gleaming 
*' sword," &.C. Of the ceremony to which our Bard alludes, 
the chair of Glamorgan have preserved some tradition. — 
" Degradation (the punishment of a refractory member) was 
" a particular act of the Gorsedd (solemn session) be- 
" fore the close of it, and it was called Dwi/n cyrch cyslavan 
" ya ei erbyn. — To bring the assault of warfare against him, 
" after thedecision, all the Bards covered their heads, and 
" one of them unsheathed the sword, named the person 
" aloud three times, with the sword lifted in his hand, add- 
*' ing, when he was last named — the sword is naked against 
*' him." — After this he could never be re-admitted, and he was 
called " A man deprived of privilege, and exposed to war- 
'' fare."* This chair proceeded no further : but it should 
seem, from the language of Taliesin, that the Druids did 
not scruple to use the sword against the caitiff, thus de- 
prived of privilege and hope, and to consign him to- Abred, 
or their lowest hell. 

The Arthur, mentioned in the conclusion of this stanza, 
is a mythological character, the representative of the pa- 
triarch Noah. 

Neud wyf glod geimyn cerdd gly wanhawr ! 
Ynhaer Pedryfan, ynys Pybyrddor, 

.1 ■*■■■■ 1 I I , — ■ *-|ii ■■■■ m l I I ■! ■— ..■■■ M i ^ . ^ - —. - ^ ■■■■■ ^ I 11^ i^lM^fc^ n ■■ IM ■ I ■ «■> 

• Introd» to LI. HSp, p. 5i. 


Echwydd a muchedd cymysgettor, 
Gwin gloyw eu gwirawd, rhag eu gosgor— ^ 
Tri lloneid Prydwen ydd aetham ni ar for ; 
Namyn Saitb, ni ddyrraith o Gaer Rigor. 

" Am I not contending for the honour of a lore that d*-. 
" serves attention ! 

" In the quadrangular inclosure, in the island with the 
" strong door, the twilight and the pitchy darkness were 
" mixed together, whilst bright wine was th^ beverage, 
*' placed before the narrow circle — 

" Thrice the number that would have filled Prydpsen, we 
*' embarked upon the sea ; excepting seven, none returned from 
f Caer Rigor." 

The quadrailgular inclosure is the cell, or Adytum of 
the ark itself; and hence, of an Arkite temple. It fol- 
lows, that the island with the strong door, was that of the 
iSeoM or Owyllion, which contained this sacred Arkite cell. 
The Druids seem to have appointed a great divinity, as 
the guardian of the door, or entrance pf this sanctuary. 
Thus Taliesin says — 

" The oak, the mover, * before whom heaven and earth 
f' would tremble — a vindictive foe ! The guardian of the 
*' door is his name in our table books." 

Again, in a poem cited above, Qlewlwyd Gafaelfawr, the 

Jioary severe one, with the ample dominion, is the guardian 

of the door, in the Druidical sanctuary: and the Triads 

ni^ke Seithin Saidi, Saturn or Janus, the guardian of the 

door of Godo, the ark. 

All this has its counterpart, in the mythology of other 
nations. " When the ark was constructed, Noah made a 
?' door in its side j a circumstance continually commemo- 

, . .r ' ■ ' '■■ ' ■ " ',n> 

^ Or QuicJicner. 


•* rated by the Gentile writers. The entrance through it, 
" they esteemed a passage to death and darkness ;' but the 
" egress from it was represented as a return to life : hence 
" the opening and shutting of it were religiously re- 
« corded.'^* , 

The confusion of twilight and utter darkness, in this sacred , 
inclosure, alludes to the internal gloom of the ark, a cir- 
cumstance seldom forgotten in the mystical poems. Ce» 
ridwen, the Arkite goddess, was the mother of A'vagddu, 
Vtter darkness, who could not be illuininated, till the re- 
novating cauldron had boiled for a complete year. 

The torches of this goddess were burning in the dead of 
night, and at the hour of dawn : the aspirant to the greater 
mysteries was cast into the sea, Mewn boly tywyll, in a dark 
receptacle; and in the poem before us, the ark is styled 
Qaer Golur, the gloomy inclosure. Mr. Bryant has re- 
marked numerous allusions to the same circumstance. 

We are here told, that bright wine was the liquor placed 
before the narrow ,circ|e of the Diluvian patriarch. That 
revered personage was the first upon record, who planted 
the vine, and drank of its produce. Jle was the Dionust^ 
of antiquity. The British Bards represent hinji uuder the 
character of Hu, as the giver of wine: and they seldom 
^allude to his mystical festivals, without mentioning the 
piead and the wine, whiph see^l to have been int;:pduced 
^s sacred memorials. 

Ni obrynaf llawyr Hen Uywiadur-^ 
Tra Chaer Wydr, ni welsynt wrhyd ArthHr— 
Tri ugeint canhwr a sefi ar y mur ; 

* Bryant'sAnalysJs, V. II. p. 257. 

See alsQ p. S64,-where we find a divinity expiassly sppointedj asgucfdicp* 
j^ the dpur, 


Qedd anawdd, ymadrawdd a'i gwiliadur — 
Tri lloneidd Prydwe^ ydd aeth gan Ar^iur ; 
Namyn saith, ni ddyrraith o Gaer Golur. 

" I will not redeem the multitudes with the ensign of the 
" governor. Beyond the inclosure of glass, they beheld 
" not the prowess of Arthur. 

" Thrice twenty hundred men stood on its wall: it was 
" difficult to converse with its centinel. 

" Thrice the number that would have filled Prydwen went 
" forth with Arthur ; excepting seven, none returned from 
« Caer Golur/' 

The Bard here represents the inhabitants of the old 
world, as ready to enlist under the banners of the patriarch, 
when alarmed by the prospect of impending ruin.— They 
were ascending the sides of the ark, and imploring protec- 
tion ; but they implored in vain. The circumstance is po- 
etically imagined. 

The ark is here called Caer Wi/dr, the inclosure of glass. 
We are not, hence to conclude, that the Druids regarded 
the sacred ship as constructed of that material; but they 
esteemed certain .little glass models, as very sacred symbols 
of the mystical vessel, and held the material itself in reli- 
gious esteem. Thus the stranger, in the chair of Taliesiri, 
is introduced to the nocturnal mysteries, by exhibiting his 
boat of glass, which must have been an emblem of the 

Merddin Emrys find his nine Bards put to sea in the 
house of glass, which could have been nothing more than- 
a mystical representative of the ^rk. 

The Druid distrijjuted the sacred liquor to his disciples, 
wydrin Ban, out of the deep cup of glass ; and those 
sacred insignia, the Glain, and the Ovui;p Anguiniim, were 
pieparatioas of some vitrified substance, AH these com- 


memorate that sacred vessel, which, amongst its multitude 
of names, had that of Caer Wydr. 


Ni ohrynaf i llawyr llaes eu eylchwy. 

Ni wyddant hwy py ddydd peridydd pwy, 

Py awr, ym nieinddydd, y ganed Cwy, ' 

Pwy gwnaeth ar nid aeth doleu Devwy. 

Ni wddant hwy yr ych brych, bras ei benrhwy, 

Seith ugein cygwn yn ei aerwy — 

A phart aetham ni gan Arthur, afrddwl gofwy; 

Namyri saith, ni ddyrraith o Gaer Vandwy. 

" I will npt redeem the piultitudes with trailing shields. 
" They knew not on what day the stroke would be given, 
" nor what hour in the serene day, Cwy (the agitated per- 
" son) would be born, or who prevented his going into the 
*' dales of Devwy (the possession of the [w;ater). They 
" know not the brindled ox with the thick head^iband, 
" having seven score knobs in his collar. — And when we 
*' went with Arthur, of mournful memory ; excepting seven, 
" none returned from Caer Vandwy." 

Taliesin here reprobates those inhabitants of the old and 
new world, who fled with trailing shields, or wanted the 
invincible fortitude of Bardism. ' Providence had not dis- 
covered to tlie former, on what day the fatal stroke of the 
deluge would be given; at what time the patriarch, who 
was tossed upon the waters, would be born again from his 
vessel, or who prevented his sinking to those dales, which 
were covered with the deluge. 

The latter knew not the brindled ox. See. 

In almost every British memorial of the deluge, the ox 
is introduced. The oxen of liu the Mighty dxew the 
beavei: out of the lake, and prevented the repetition of thie 
deluge. ' 


' And an ox or bull, as I have shewn in the second sec- 
tion, was the symbol of the Helio-afkite god. 

Whatever is to be understood by the knobs, in the collar 
of this brindled ox, it must be observed, that seven score, 
or seven score and seven, constituted a sacred number with 
the Druids, or ancient Bards. Thus Taliesin says, that 
seven score Ogyrvens, or mystical personages, pertain to 
the British muse. The mystical trees exhibited to Merddin, 
were 147 : and the stones which completed the great temple 
on Salisbury plain, are computed at 140. If the sacred ox 
was kept in this temple, the stones of the fabric may have 
been described, as composing his ring, or collar. By rwt 
knowing this ox, the Bard implies an ignorance of Arkite 
mysteries, or of the Druidical religion. 


Ni obrynaf i lawyr llaes eu gehen. 

Ni wddant py ddydd peridydd Pen : 

Py awr, ym meinddydd, y ganed Perchen ; , 

Py fil a gadwant ariant y pen — 

Pan aetham ni gan Arthur, afrddwl gynhen ; 

Namyn saith, ni ddyrraith o Gaer Ochren. 

" I will not redeem the multitudes with unguarded 
*' mouths. They know not on what day the chief was 
" appointed : on what hour in the serene day, the propri- 
" etor was born; or what animal it is, which the silver- 
** headed ones protect — 

" When zee went with Arthur into the mournful conflict ; 
" excepting seven, none retprnedfrom Qaer Ochren." 

Tlie persons of unguarded mouths, were those who violated 
the oath of secrecy, administered to them before their ini- 
tiation, The chief and the proprietor are titles of the 
Reified patria|:ch, and gf his representative in the myste- 


ries: and the animal yfa.s the symbolicial ox, ^nentioned iu 
the preceding stanza, which was kept by the hpary Druids. 

7. ' •■ -, .'. 

Mynaich dychnud, fal cun in cor, 
O gyfranc uddudd ai gwyddanhbr— 
Ai un hynt gwynt : ai un dwfr mor ; 
Ai un ufel tan, twrwf diachor ! 

''' Monks congregate, like dogs in their kennel, wrangling 
" with their instructors. — 

" Is there but one course to the wind — but one to th«i 
" water of the sea ! Is there but one spark in the fire of 
" boundless energy. _, 

Taliesin having asserted the merit of his own system, 
proceeds in this, and the concluding stanza, to reprove the 
monks, the determined adversaries of the Bards, for tHeir 
illiberality and their ignorance. He seems to say — Though 
one may be right, it does not follow, that the person who 
thinks differently must be zvrong.^-" Is there but one course 
" to the wind, &c. 


Mynejch dychnud fal bleiddiawr, 
O gyfranc uddudd ai gwyddyanhawr. 
Ni wddant pan ysgar deweint a gvvawr; 
Neu wynt pwy hynt, pwy ei rynnawr ; 
Py va ddifa, py dir y plawr. . 
Bed sant yn ddifant o bet allawr : 
Golychafi Wledig, Pendevig Mawrl 

" Monks congregate like wolves, wrangling with their 
" instructors. They know not when the darkness and the 
^* dawn divide; nor what is the course of the wind, or the 
" cause of its agitation ; in what place it dies away, or oa 
" what region it ejtpands. 

526 APPENDIX: No, IV. 

" The grave of ttie saint ' is vanishing from the faoti of 
"the altar: I will" adore the soveeeigj*, the great 


This is the proper conclusion of the poem, and it has 
something of sublimity. , The Bard had introduced his sub- 
ject, with a resolution to adore the Great Supreme, who 
had preserved the just man from the water? of the deluge ; 
and he closes with the same sentiment. 

Some idle copyist, however, as usual, has .added a 
Christian idea, in a verse which disagrees with what has 
gone before, in language, in metre, and in final rhymer-^ 

Na bwyf^ trist, Crist am gwaddawl. 
" That I be not sorrowful, may Christ be my portion." 

No. IV. 

In the Celtic Researches, I have observed, that Tydain 
Tad Awen — Titan, the father of inspiration, the third of the 
chief regulators; and Angar, thefouf^din of heat, the son of 
Ladon, and the third of the equal judges, corresponded in 
character with Apollo. Yet Tydain and Angar are evidently 
connected with the Arkite theology of the Britons., The 
former had his tomb, or shrine, in the hill of Aren ; and 
Mr. Bryant informs us, that Aren was the ark. 

Ladon, the mother of Angar, was no other than Latona j 
and the same great mythologist assures us, that Isis, the 
Arkite goddess, and Latona, were the same personage. 

This solar divinity of the Britons appears again in a 
poem of Taliesin, with the title T&frn On, the sovereign 
On. And he still retains the same ordinate rank, being de- 
scribed as the third deep mysteiy of the Sage. 

No. lit APPENDIX* 527 

A passage in Taliesin's poem, on the rod of Moses, con- 
nects this On with the Egyptian divinity, On, or Helios. 
The patriarch Joseph had married a daughter of the priest, 
or prince, of On, which is also called Heliopolis ; and thus 
he had become the son of this prince. And the Bard says 
of Joseph, 

" The son of Teyrn On collected treasures from his asso- 
" ciates,/ and the sons of Jacob had those treasures in 
" possession." 

The poem, which commemorates the Helio-arkite divi- 
nity by this name, is entitled Cadair Teyrn On, the chair of 
the sovereign On. It is cur-ious upon many accounts, and 
particularly as it was composed upon a memorable occasion, 
the inauguration of the renowned Arthur. I shall therefore 
give it entire. , 


Areit awdl egliir, 
Awen tra messur, 
Am gwr deu awdwr, 
O echen Aladur, 
A'i iFonsai, a'i ffwr, 
A'i reon rechdur, 
A'i ri rhwyfiadur, 
A'i rif ysgrythwr, 
A'i goch, gochlesswr, 
A'i ergyr dfos fwr, 

* W. Archaiol. p 65. 

5^8 APPENDIX. No. IV. 

A'i gadair, gymmesswr, 
Ymhlith gosgordd mwr; 
Neus dug o gawrmwr, 
Meirch gwelw gostrodwr, 
Teyrn On, henwr, 
Heilyn Pasgadwr, 
Trededd dofn doethwr, 
I fendigaw Arthur. 

The declaration of the luminous strain, of the iinjjounded 
Awen (Bardic muse), concerning the person of two ori- 
gins,* of the race of Al Adur,-\ with his divining staff, 
and his pervading glance, and his neighing coursers, and 
his regulator of kings, and his potent number, and his 
blushing purple, and his vaulting over the boundary, and 
his appropriate chair, amongst the established train. ; 

Lo, he is brought from the firm inclosure,J with hi» 
light-coloured bounding steeds — even the sovereign On, the 
ancient, the generous feeder,| the third profound object of 
thte sage, to pronounce the blessing upon Arthur. 

* Alluding, perhaps, to the double birth of the Arkite god. Thus Dioausus 
(Noah) was styled Ai^mj;. Or else, the B»rd may hare had an eye to the 
niystieal union of the patriarch and the sun, 

t ")li<^N, Vie Glorious God. 

I shall not undertake to explain the various particulars introduced in this 
passage : only, I suppose, that by the solar god's vaulting otier the boundary, 
thf Bards intimated his crossing the equator. This may have been represented 
by some mystic rite. Diadorus t^Us. us, that Apollo had his appropriate chair 
in the great Hyperborean temple, which antiquaries, of no mean name, pro- 
nounce to have been no olher than the famous structure of Stonehenge- There 
the god amused himself with a dance, once in nineteen years, amongst hii 
established train. As it was the known practice for certain priests, in the 
celebration of the mysteries, personally to represent the sun and moan, I con- 
jecture ihat the Druids, in their great festival of the cycle, dressed up a 
pageant of their own order, to personate this luminons divinity. 

J Cavir mi,r, firm inchsure. Or strong boundary^ seems to mean tlie fir- 

§ Or, Heilin the Feeder, the soUt divinity, whom the Bards always place im 
the third tank. 

No. IV. APPENDIX. 529 

Arthur fendigad, 
Ar gerdd gyfaenad, 
A'r wyneb ynghad, 
Arnaw bystylad ! 
Pwy y tri ehynweissad, 
JVwerch^dwis gwlad ? 
Pwy y tri chyfarwydd, 
A gedwis arwydd, 
A ddaw wrth awydd, 
Erbya eu harglwydd ? 
Arthur ! may he be blessed, according to the lore of the 
society,* when his face meets the battle, which wantonly 
assaults him ! 

Who are the three chief ministers, who have defended 
the country? Who are the three experienced men, who 
having preserved the token, are coming with alJirity to 
meet their lord ? 

Ban rinwedd rotwydd. 
Ban fydd hyn hoywedd. 
Ban corn cerddetrwydd : 
Ban biw, wrth echwydd : 
Ban gwir, pan ddisgleir ; 
Bannach pan lefair. 
Ban, pan ddoeth o ba,ir 
Ogyrven, Awen teir. 
Bum Mynawg, mynweir, 
Ynghorn i'm neddair : 

M M 

*, Apollo is her« introdiicqfl in per^oq, as jiroaouncing the solemn benetdic- 
tion, and calling his chosen votaries into his presence,, to join in the celebration 
of mystic rites. 

The remainder of the poem is put into the mouth of the priest, wfap tepre- 
sents this divinity. 

530 APPENDIX. No. IV. 

Ni ddyly cadair, 

Ni gatwo fy ngair. 

Cadeir gennyf glaer, 

Awen hyawdl daer. 
Eminent is the virtue of tbe free course, when this dance* 
is performed. Loud is the horn of the lustrator, when the 
kinef move in the. evening. Manifest is truth when it 
shines; more maaifest when ^ it speaks ; and loud it spoke, 
when it came forth from the cauldron of Awen^ the ardent 

I have been Mynawg,f wearing the collar, and carrying 
my horn in my hand. He is not entitled to the, presidency, 
who will not keep my decree. I hold the splendid ,chair of 
the eloquent, the ardent Awen. 

Pwy yw enw y teir caer, 
^' Rhwng Uiant a llaer ? 

Nis gwyr, ni fo taer, » 

Eissillut eu Maer. 

Pedair caer yssydd 

Ym Mhrydain Powyssedd : 

Rhieu MerWerydd. ' . » 

Am ni fo, md fydd : 

Nid fydd, am nid fo. 

Llynghessawr a fo; 

Tohid gwaneg tra gro, 

Tir dylyn, dir, bo 

Nag allt nag ado, 

Na bryn na thyno. 

The dance, in which Apollo joined with his votaries. 
T The tine of Ceres, which drew her ark, or chest. Her procession seems 
to have Commenced in the evenings as that of the solar divinity did in the 
morning, See No. 6. 

t Oi Minauc— the deified patriarch.i-»nd hence his priest and lepTeseDtatWe. 

No. IV. APPENDIX. 581 

Na rhynnawd Godo, 
Rhag gwynt, pan sorho ; 
Cadeira Teyrn On : 
Celfydd rwy catwo. 
What are the names of the three Caers,* between the 
flowing and the ebbing tide? The man of slow intellect 
recognizes not the offspring of their president. Four Caersf 
there are, stationary, in Britain: their governors are agi-> 
tators of fire. 

As for what may not be, it will not be — It will not be, 
because it may not be. J 

Let him {On} be the conductor of his fleet | — then^ were 
the billows to overwhelm beyond the strand, so that of firm 
land there should indeed remain neither cliff nor defile, nor 
hill nor dale, nor the smallest sheltering cover from the" 
wind, when its fury is rouged; yet the sovereign On will 
protect his chair : skilful is he who guards it» 

Ceissitor yngno! 
Ceissitor Cedig, 
Cedwyr coUedigj 
Tebygaf dduU dig/ 
O ddifa Pendefig, 
O ddull difynnig' 
O Leon lluryg, 
Dyrchafawd Gwledigj 
Am derwyn Hen Enwig, 

M M 2 

• Insular sanctuaries. See the Essay, Sect. II. and Append No. II, 
«pd VI. The Bard may also allude to tlie sacred rafts, or boats. See Sect. III. 

+ Sanctuariesj containing the cells of* the sacred fire. 

t A curiotis specimen of Druidical logic. 

i The pageant means to say—" Were the world to be again OTerwhelmed, 
" Rs at the deluge, yet the Arkite sanctuary, the chait of the Helio-aitite god 
should remain in lectfrity. 

532 APPENDIX. No. IV. 

Breuhawd bragawd'brtg — 
Breuhawd eissorig. 
Orig, a merin, 
Am derfyn chwefrin, 
leithoedd eddein, 
Mordwyaid merin. 
Aches ffysgiolin 
O blan Seraphin, 
Dogyn, dwfn, diwerin, 
Dyllyngein Elphin. 
There let them be sought! Let application be made to 
Kedig,* for the men of Ked,\ who have been lost. 

When it seemed most likely that, in a wrathful manner, 
the nobility would be destroyed, with lacerated forms, then, 
clad in legionary mail, a sovereign was exalted. 

Round the ancient and renowned focus, the shooting' 
sprigs were broken : they were broken into tallies.^ 

" A moment, and they shall dissolve! Round the bor- 
" ders, the severe speeches of the roving sea adventurers 
" shall vanish away.' 

" A quick gliding train of radiant seraphim, in due or- 
" der, mysteri^ous and pure, shall deliver Elphin." 

* The same as Kid, the Arkite goddess, whose renovating cauldron could 
restore the slain to life : but, ak. the same time, it deprived them of ptterancer 
or obliged them to take an oath of secrecy. See Turner's Vindic. p. 383. 

The efficacy of this cauldron is here illustrated, by the energy which wa» 
displayed by a prince of the Bardic order> after the massacre of the nobles. 

+ Or warriors. 

X This passage describes the rite of sortilege — the concluding lines contain 
the vaticination, deduced from the experiment. 

No. V. APPENDIX. 533 

No. V. 

In the last poem, we have s,een the solar divinity, as 
personified and represented by his priest and namesake, 
Taliesin, connected with the Arkite superstitions of the 

There is also reason to conclude, that the magi of Bri- 
tain, like those of Persia, worshipped the sun, under the 
name and character ai Jire. Let the reader form his judg- 
ment upon this subject, from the following extract of Ta- 
liesin's poem on the inythological horses.* 

Torrid, anliynudawl, 

Tuthiawl Dan iogawl — 

Ef iolen, o dduch lawr 1 

T&n Tan! hustin Gwawr! 

Uch awel uchel ; 

Uch no pob nyfel ! 

Mawr ei anyfel : 

Ni thrig yngofel, 

Na neithiawr Llyr. 

Llyr llwybyr y tebyr 

Dy far, ynghynebyr. 

Gwawr gw6n wrth Uchyr — 

Wrth wawr, wrth wrys ; 

Wrth pob hefelis ; 

Wrth hefelis Nwython ; 

Wrth pedyr af aon, 

Arddwyreaf i a varn Gwrys, 

Cadarn trydar — dwfri ei gas. 
Let him burst forth, with rapid speed— The moving, the 
vehement fire : even he whom we adore, high above the 
earth ! 

* W Archaiol. p. 43, 

634 APPENDIX. Nd. V, 

" The fire, the fire!" whispers Aurora. — " He is 
" high above the lofty gale. High above every sacred 
" spirit ! Vast is the bulk of his courser I He will not de^ 
" lay in the skirmish ; nor at the wedding feast of Llyr" 
(J^the sea). 

Thy path* in the sea is perceived — thy impulse in the 
mouths of rivers ! 

Aurora, smiling, repels the glpom ! 

At the dawn, at his ardent hour, at every meet season, at 
the meet season of his turnings, at the four stages of his 
course, will I extol him, who judges the ambitious — ^tJie 
mighty lord of the dinf — dreadful is his wrath ! 

This, surely, implies the practice of Jire-worship. The 
Bard, however, has not forgotten his Arkite lore. In the 
pourse of the poem, he celebrates the mythological steed?, 
which perta;ined to that superstition; and then recites a 
catalogue of his own transmigrations; ainongst which we 
have the following — 

Bum Uif, yn eirth. 
< Bum ton, yn engwelrth. 

Bum ysgof ysgeini^d Dilyw. 

" I have been a flood on the slope. I have been a wave 
ff on the extended shore. I have been a memorial of the 
f spreading deluge," 

* It should seem, that the Bard imputes the flowing and ebbing of the tid? 
tp the sun's influence. 

+ The pl^rase Rhwyv Trydar, lord, or Uaier of the din, which Taliesin an4 
Aneurin apply to tlie sun, with others of similar import, seem to denote, that 
the Druids welcomed his risings with frantic shouts of joy» accompanied witl) 
jbe vocal hymn, and instrumental music. 

No. VI. APPENDIX, 535 

No. VI, 

A PQfm of Taliesin, called, Buaeth BeirdD) The 
Ox-pen of the Bards.* 


Edd, ympeibli, oedd ympuylled, 

O feirdd Prydein, pryddest ofer, 

Ymryoreu, ymryorsedd, 

Digawn gofal i gofan gordd. 

Wyf eissyg preh cyfyn an gerdd, 

Buarth Beirdd, ar nis gwypo, 

Pymthengmil drostaw, 

Yn ei gymhwyaw. 

Wyf cerddoliad ; wyf ceiniad claer : 
Wyf dwr ; wyf Dryw : 
Wyf saer : wyf sy w : 

Wyf sarph : wyf serch, ydd ymgestaf, 

Nid wyf fardd syn, yn yryfreidiaw, 

P?,n g§,n ceinied, canu yngof. 

Nyt ef wnafyt wy ryfedd uchon, ' 

Handid a mi eu herbyniaw ; 

Mai arfoll dillad heb law ; 

Mai ymsawd yn llyn, heb naw. 
Gliding with rapidity were my thoughts, over the vain 
poetic art of the Bards of Britain,-]- who labouring to make 
an excessive shew at the solemn meeting, with sufficient 
care hammer out a song, I require a ste^, at unity with 
the Bardic lore. As for him who knows not the ox^petf]^ 

' W. Archaiol. p. 27. 

+ Taliesin censures those Bards who were ambitious of displaying their 
talentS) without having acquirtjd an accurate knowledge of the mystic lore of 
the order. It appears from the sequel, that his satire is pointed chiefly against 
those poetical geniuses^ who attended at the gates of the great. 

t 'The insular eell or stall of the sacred ox, which represented the Atkite god, 
ajid was known only to the regular Bards or Druids. , 

536" APPENDIX. No. Vt 

of the Bards, may fifteen thousand overpower and afflict 
him at once ! 

I am a skilful composer : I am a clear singer : I am a 
tower : * I am a Druid ; I am an architect : I am a prophet ; 
I am a serpent : I am love : in the social banquet will I 

A Bard am I, not doating upon superfluous trifles. 
When a master sings, his song will be close to the subject, 
Jle will not be searching for tbosg remote wonders. 

Shall I then admit tf^ese, like men suing for garments, 
without a hand to receive them — like men toiling in the 
lake, without a ship ! f 

Tyrfi aches cofn, yngradd 
Uchel; yngwaed, morddwyd trefydded. 

Criiig, am waneg, wrth wawr, trefqad. 

An clut ysgrut, esgar noddiad : 

Craig pen Peichen, pen anygnad. 

Yna gwna meddiit medddawt meddydd — 

Wyf Cell : wyf dell : wyf darw BecrUed; 

Wyf llogell cerdd : wyf lie ynydd : 

Caraf y gorwydd, a gorail clyd, 

A bardd a bryd, ni pryn yred. 

Nyt ef caraf amryssoniad : 

A geibl celfydd, ny meuedd medd. 

Madws myned i'r ymddiod, 

A chelfyddeid, am gelfyddyd, 

A chanclwra, cystwm cywlad. 

JBugeil broQedd, porthoedd neirthiad. 

* The mystagogue, as asiial, blends his own personal character with the 
symbols of jiis god — the tower or pyramid, the serpent, &c. 

tf Several whimsical comparisons are added in the ori^inaljiocm, for the 
p)irpoi,e of ridiculing the pretended Bards j but 1 have omitted ft)eqv ^^ ^^^ 
^((^(e ot luteffsi. ^ • 

No. VI. APPENDIX. 537 

Mai ymdaith, heb drefet, i gad — — 

Wyf bardd neuodd, wyf kyv kadeir ; 

Digonaf i feirdd Uafar Ilestair. 

Boldly* swells the stream to its high limit. Let the 
thi^h be pierced in blood. — Let the rock beyond the billow, 
be set in order, at the dawn, displaying the countenance of 
HIM, who receives the exile into his sanctuary. — The rock 
of the Supreme Proprietor, the chief place of tranquillity. 

Then let the giver of the iivead feast cause to be pro- 
claimed, "j- — " I am the cell ; I am the opening chasm ; I 
" am the bull Seer JL/ed; J I am the repository of the mys- 
" tery ; I am the place of reanimation. I love the tops of 
" trees, with the points well connected,]] and the Bard 
" who composes without meriting a repulse; but him I 
" love not, who delights in contention. He who traduces 
" the adept, shall not enjoy the mead. § — It is time to has- 

• This passage describes the preparation for the solemn , periodical rite, of 
temoving the shrine ont of the cell, in the Arkite island, which seems to have 
been surrounded only at high water. Here we may remark, 1. A ritual ob- 
servation of the time of flood, alluding to the deluge, 2, A fanatical rite of 
piercing the thigh, so as to draw blood. — ^Thus, the idolatrous Israelites 
" cried aloud, and cut themselves, after their manner, with knives aiid lancets, 
" till the blood gushed out upon them." — 3. A ritual adorning of tlie sacred 
rock, which was, at that time, to display the countenance of the Arkite god. 
4. This was done at the dawn, that the Helio-Arkite god might be coming 
forth from the cell, at the precise hour of the sun's rising. 5. This rock was 
the chief place of tranquillity ; for hare the divinity was supposed to reside, 
excepting at the time of the solemn procession. 6. This patriarchal god, the 
Supreme Proprietirr, was he who received his family, exiled from, the world, 
into his ark or sanctuary. 

+ This proclamation is made in the name of the Arkite cell, and of the tau- 
fiferm god. 

J A foreign term : perhaps from ^p3, which implies both an ox or bull, and 
«l80 the dawn or morning ; compounded with 10\T7, flame, fire, inchantment. 

The bull of fire was an apt title for the Helio-Arkite god, as the bull was 
the symbol of thfe patriarch, and the sun iVas worshipped in the form of foe, or 

It will occur to the reader, that the other meanings of these terms, were 
strictly pertinent to the mysticism of the Druids, whose god came forth in the 
morning, and was esteemed the president of inehantart. 

II The mystagogue requires a song, not only perfectly cMisistent with the lore 
of the Bards, but also, noted in their mystical characters, or omen-sticks. 

§ That is, " ShaH not be admitted to the mysteries, where the mead ii 
♦' ritually administered by the priests. 


" ten to the banquet, where the skilful ones are employed 
" in their mysteries,' with the hundred Anofo*— the custom 
" ©four countrymen." 

The shepherds of the plains, the supporters of gates,t 

are like persons marching to battle, without their clan. 

I am the Bard of the hall, I am the stock that supports the 
chair : I shall succeed in impeding the progress of the lo- 
quacious Bards. 

No. VII. 

Conclusion of TaliesitCs Cad GoDDEtr, or Battle of the 

Trees. % 


Handid cynt, myr mawr, 
Erpangigleu'r awr, 
A'n deilas blaen bedw, 
A'n datrith, a'n datedw. 
A'n maglas blaen derw, 
O warchan Maelderw ; 
Wherthinrawg, tu craig, 
N^r, nid ystereig. 
Existing of yore, in the great seas, from the time when 

' '■ — '. ' —\ =^ 

* By whiph, the symbolical sprigs above mentioned, were confined to their, 
places, in the composition of the sacred hymn. 

t Who seem, according to thevulga.r phrase, to prop tfte g«<« of the great,' 
wTiere tlicy, attend as veual minstrels. As Braidism was not now established 
tiy-law, the president had no weapon but 'I^is satire, wherewith to sikiice these 

J This piece contains much of the Helio-atkite lore ; but it is so foil of mys- 
tical alloi*ons, which ar? become obscure, from the loss of monuments, that 
I hope to be pardoned. If I do not succeed in explaining the whole. It is here 
exhibited, in order to eij,erci3e th?. ingenuity of better injlliologists. 

See W. Archaiol. p. oO, 


the shout* was heard, vsTf were put forth, decomposed 
and simplified, by the tops of the birch. J The tops of 
the oak § connected us together, by the incantation of Mael 
Derw;l| whilst smiling at the side of the rock, Ner^ re« 
mamed in calm tranquillity. 

Nid o Fam a Th^d, 
Pan ymddigonad, 
A'm creu, am cread ; 
O naw rhith llafanad, 
O ifrwyth, O ffrwytheu, 
O ffrwyth Duw dechreu, 
O friallu, blodeu bre, 
O flawd gwydd a goddeu, 
O bridd, o briddred. 

* Some passages in the modern Bards might countenance the ideaj that this 
shout refers to the Creation ; but I rather think, the mjthologist alludes to 
the joy which took place at the opening of the ark, and the putting forth of its 

-f- The original fraternity of Bards and Druids. 

'f As Bedwen, a birch, implies the may-pole, otPhallia; and, as the term is 
used by a celebrated Bard, D. ab Gwilym, in a very gross sense : I suspect 
Taliesin alludes to the powers of nature^ in their simplest form. 

^ The oak was sacred to the great god of the Druids, who is styled Buanavir, 
the quickener, before whom heaven and earth tremble — a dreadful foe, whose name 
in the table book is Dryssavrr, the deity of' the door. This must apply-to the dei- 
fied patriarch, who received his connected family into the ark, and his coa« 
inected votaries into the Druidical sanctuary. 

II Beneficent of tite oaks. There is a most dark and difficult poem, called (he 
tncantation of' Maelderw. See No. XVI. 

5f Nereus, the deluge, the abyss, which wis now appeased- 'The name 
seems to be derived from the Hebrew "1111, Ner, to rim or flow, as water.—' 
f Hence (says Mr. Farkhurst) the Greeks and Romans had their Nereus, which 
" originally signified the great abyss, or the sea considered at communicating 
f- with it." Thnrlfereus is addressed in the Orphic hymn. 

Possessor of the ocean's gloorny depth. 
Ground of the sea, earth's bourn and source of all, 
• Shaking prolific Ceres' sacred seat, 

When, in the deep recesses of thy reign. 

The madding blasts are, by thy power, confin'd ; 

Sut oh! the earthquake's dreadful force foiefend.l 

Heb. Ler. V. "nJ, 


Pan ym digoned ; 
O flawd danet, 
O ddwfr ton nawfed. 
When my formation was accomplished,* not,of motlie^ 
and father was I prodnced ; but of nine elementary forms — 
of the fruit of fruits ; of the fruit of the primordial god ; 
of primroses, the blossoms of the mount; of the flowers 
of trees and shrubs; of earth, in its terrene state was J 
modelled ; of the flower of nettles, and the water of the 
pinth wave, 


A'm swynwysel Math, 

Cyn bum diaered. 

Am swynwys i Wydion, 

Mawr nwr o Bfython, 

O Eurwys, o Eurwn, 

O Euron, O Fedron, 

O bump pumhwnt Celfyddon, 

Athrawon, ail Math. 

Pan ymdd^gaid, 

A'm swynwys i Wledig, 

Pan fu led losgedig. 

A'm swynwys Sywydd 

Sywyddon, cyn byd, , 

Pan fei gennyf fi vot. 

Pan fei faint byd hardd, 

Bardd Budd an gnawd : 

A'r wawd ytueddaf, ' , 

A draetho tafawd. 

* From hencefortb, the mystagogue describes the formatioDi and details the 
history of the great president of the Draidical order, the priest, pcophet, and 
vicegerent of the Helio-arkite god ; who, upon the principle of the metempsy- 
chosis, had preserved his existence ^nd his identity through all ages, from the 
time when the ark was first constructed. 

The fruits, tiowprs, earth, and water here mentiohbd, are tfte same kind of 
ingredients which wore used in the mystical purifications, with a view to form 
ot'figenttate tfie members of the Bardic order. 


1 was exorcised by Math,* before I became immortal. 
I was exorcised f by Gwydion, the great purifier of the 
Brython, of Eurwys, of Euron and Medron, of the multi- 
tude of scientific teachers, children of Math. 

When the removal J took place, I was exorcised by the 
sovereign, when he was half consumed. By the sage of 
sages was I exorcised in the primitive world, at which time 
I had a being : when the host of the world was in dignity, 
frequent was the benefit of the 6ard.§ I am he who influ- 
ence the song of praise, which the tongue recites. 

Gwarieis yn llychwr : 
Cysgais ym mhorfFor. 
Neu bum yn ysgor, 
Gan Ddylan, ail jh6r, 
Ynghylchedd, ymherfedd, 
Rhwng deulin teyrnedd, 
Yn deu wayw anchwant, 
O nef, pan idoethant 
Yn'Annwfn llifeiriant. 
Wrth frwydin, dybyddant 
Pedwar ugein kant, 
A gweint ar eu chwant. 
Nid ynt hyn, nid ynt iau 
No mi, yn eu banilau. 
I sported in the gloom ;|| I slept in purple ; I truly was 

• MSth W8S a mighty operator with the magic wand, who, at the time of 
the deluge, set the elements at -large; and Gwydion was the Hermes of the 

Compare-Nxi. X. with Cadair Ceridwen. , ^ 

T These repeated exorcisms, or purifications by mystical rhes, seem to imply 
the initiation of the great pontifical character, every time he descended into a, 
new body. 

X The separation of the Koacfaids, or the dispersion from Babel. 

$ Or — « The Bard of BCidd conversed much witt men." 

I Thit passage clearly asserts, that the bieraith passed through the del aget 


542 APPENDIX. No. mi, 

m the ship with l)ylan, son of the sea, embraced in the 
centre, between the royal knees, when, like the rushing of 
hostile spears, the floods came forth, from heaven to the 
great deep. On the perforated surface, fourscore hundred* 
assemble, attendant on their will. They are neither older 
nor younger than myself in their divisions. 


Arial cannwr a geni. 

Pawb, o naw cant, 

Oedd gehnyf inneu, 

Ynghleddyf brith gwaed. 

Bri am darwedd^-O Ddofydd; 

A golo He ydd oedd. 

O dof hyd l^s baedd, 

Ef gwrith, ef dadwrith, 

Ef gwrith ieithoedd. 

Uachar ei enw, Uawfer, 

Lluch llywei nifer, 

Ys gein ynt, yn ufel, 

O dof yn uchel. 
Tis the animated singer who fehaunts. The complete 
number of nine hundred pertained to me, with my blood- 
stained sword .-f- To me was dignity allotted by Dovydd;J 
and where he was there was protection. 

If I come to the green plain of the boar, § he will com- 

whicb was regarded as a great lustration. And thi» achievement tias performed 
in the saoied vessel of the patriarch. 

• These 8000 were, perhaps, sacred fountains, which pouied forth their 
waters to meet the descending rain, and complete the lastratioa of the globe. 

'f Stained with the blood of victims, which he had saciificed, 

I Domitor, Gadi 

§ " Tacitas informs us, that the Estji (a German tribe) worshipped the 
" mother of the gods, and that the symbol which they used was a boar^—tUe 
" mother of the gocls-^ — was, in short, the ark of ^oah, from which issued 
" ali the hero-gods of paganism. With regard to the boar — we find it intro- 
" dueed very coBspicuously into many ot those legendary traditions, which 

N». VH. APPENDIX. 543 

pose, he ^^111. decompose, he will form languages. The 
etrong-banded da,rter of light is he styled : with a gleam he 
sets in order his numbers, who will cause the flame to spread 

when I ascend on high. 

Bum neidy fraith/ ym mryn. 
Bum gwiber yn Uyn. 
Bum «er gan gynbyn. 
Bum bwysferhyn, _ 
Fy .nghassul am cawg. 
Armaaf, nid yn ddrwg, 
Pedwar ugeint mwg, 
Ar bawb a ddyddwg. 
Pum pemhwnt angell 
A ymdal am cyllelL 
Whech March Melynell : 
Canwaith y sydd well, 

Fy march Melyngan, 

Cyfred a gwylan. 

Mi hun nid eban, 

Cyfrwng m&r a glan. 

Neu gorwyf ^waedlan, 

Arnaw cant cynrhan. 

Rhudd em fy nghylcbwy, 

Eur fy ysgwydrwy. 

Ni ganed, yn adwy, 

A vu ira govwy, 

Namyn Goronwy, 

O ddoleu Edrywy. 

" relate to the great event of the deluge. It appears to have been one of tbti 
" symbols of the ark."— Faber's Myst. af the Cabiii, V. I. p. 22b. 

•' Ferhaps> if the matter be expreased with perfect accuracy, we ought ra- 
" ther to say, that a baar was symbolical of Noab, and a sow of the arb. 
" Hence we find, that as Vishnou was feigned to have metamorphosed himself 
" into a boar, so the nurse of the Arkite Jupiter, or, in other wotds^ the Noetic 
" ship, is said by Agathocles to have been a sowt"-^W»t«. Hid,- 

544 APPENDIX. No. YM* 

I have been a spotted adder* on the mount — I have been 
a viper in the lake — I have been stars -J- among the supreme 
chiefs ; I have been the weigher of the falling drops,J drest 
in my priest's cloke, and furnished with my bowl. 

Not unskilfully do I presage, at fourscore smoking altars,^ 
tlie fate which will befal every man. To my knife, || a mul- 
titude of thighs have submitted. 

Six steeds ^ there are of yellow hue : than these, a hun- 
dred times better is Melyngam,, my steed^ swift as the sea- 
mew, which will not pass by me, between the sea and the 

With the circle of ruddy gems on my golden shield,** do 
I not preside over the area of blood, which is guarded by 
a hundred chiefs? The man has not been born, who can 
compare with me in the gap, excepting it be Goronwy,§§ 
from the dales of Edrywy. 

Hirwyn fy myssawr. 
Pell na bum heussawr. 
Treiglais y mewn llawr, 
Cyn bum Heenawr. 

* The adder qr viper was a symbol of the Helio-arkite god ; and hence of 
bis priest, who occupied his station upon the sacred mounti or in the Diluvian 

+ A constellation, representing a sacrificing priest. 

% A priest, representing the Diluvian god. 

II He supported the character of a soothsayer, or hainFpex. 

$ He was a sacrificing priest. 

^ Sacred ships — symbols of the ark. Melyngan was of this order, as appears 
by the road which he travelled. I have shewn, in a note upon No. II. that the 
sea-mew was a Diluvian symbol. 

•* The shield of the Helio-arkite god, and of hisr priest, having the image of 
Caer Sidi, the zodiac, or the Druidical temple, formed of gems, and set in 
gold. The device still appears upon some old 'ntish coins. The hitiarch 
presided in the area of the altar, which was guarded by the priestt« aoil 
drenched with the blood of victims. 

j^ Gar-on-viy, Sufveme Lord of the Water— \he deified patriarch. 

Nt>. VII. APPENDIX. 545 

- Treiglais, pylchyneis, "* 

Kysgeis cant ynys ; 

Cant kaer a thiugys. 
^ Darwyddon doethur, 

Darogenwch i Arthur, 

Yssid y sydd gynt 

Neu'r mi, ergenhynt, 

A Christ y croccaw 

A dydd brawd rhag Haw, 

Ac am un adderyw, 

O ystyr dilyw ? 

Eurem yn ,?uryll, : , 

Mi hydwyf herthyll, 

Ac ydwyf drythyll, 

O ormes Fferyll. 
Long and white are my fingers. It is long since I have 
been a herdsman.* I wandered in the earth, before I be- 
came a proficient in learning. I wandered, I, went the cir- 
cuit, 1 slept in a huudre4 islands ; through a hundred Caers 
I toiled. , , 

Ye intelligent Druids, declare to Arthur all that has been ' 
predicted of yore. Have theyf not sung of me, and of 
Christ J that was crucified, and of the day of future doom, 
and of one that has been endowed with the lore of the 

With my precious golden device upon my piece of gold, 

N N 

• So Heilin, the Helio-arkite god, is styled Pasgadwr, the feeder. No. IV. 
The Bards had some tradition that thdr solar divinity, or his chief priest and 
representative, in ancient times, had been a herdsman or shepherd. The 
Creeks told the same tale of thdr Apollo. 

1 See ApoUodor. L. I. c. 9. and L. III. c. 10. 

+ Tliat is, the diviners of former times. 

i This sacred name is introdaced as a cloak inlo many of the heathen songs 
qf the BritoBS. 


Lo, I am tliat splendid one, who sportively eome from the 
invading host of the Feryll,* 

ISTo. V'lII. 

Dialogue between XJgnach, the Son of Mydno,-of Caer Seoii, 
and Taliesin, of Caer Degantm/.f 

Marchawc, a girch y Dinas, 
Ae con gwinion, ae cirn bras, 
Nyth adwaen : ni rythwelas. 
O knight, who approachest the city with white dogs f 
and large horns,| I know thee not: to my eyes thou art 
not familiar. 

Marchawc, a circh ir Aber, 
Yar March cadarn, cadfer, 
Dabre genhiw : nim gwatter. 
Thou knight, who repairest to the river's mouth, on a 
stout, warlike steed, II come with me; I take no denial. 


Mi nid aw ina in awr : 

• Or Pheryll, Cabiri — Helio-arkites. 

^ W. Archaiol. p. 46. 

The monks say that Ugnach, otherwise called Mygnaeh, the son of Mydaaw, 
the ship mover, was principal of the college of Caer Gybi, or Holyhead. But 
these legendaries often confound the votaries of Draidisin, witlT the eariy 
saints of their own calendar ; and it may he inferred, , from the following 
poem, which certainly is ancient, that Ugnach was a distingnished hierophamt 
in Arkite mysteries. If bis station was Holyhead, it must follow, that this 
islet was a Stfon or &nii of the British Sards.— rSee Sect. II. 

% Own Annwj), or dogscf the deep, a mysU,cal representation of the- white. 
Tohed Druids. So AtqiDm, tiie AtMte, King of the De<ep, bad his pack of 
white dogs with red ears. See Sect. V. 

$ Attributes of the tauriform god, whom this priest represented. 

II Taliesin's horsei named Milyiigan, as w« havCr already seen, was a sacred 
ship, SeeNo.VIL 


GoUew gweith y godriccawr, 
Elhid bendith new a llawr ! 
At present, that is not my road — abstain from an injurious 
act, for the blessing of heaven and earth ! 


Y gwr pim gwelas beunit, 

Y tabic i gur deduit, 

Ba hyd ei dy, a phan delit ? 
O thou who hast not often seen me — thou who resemblest 
one of the initiated, .how long wilt thou absent thyself, and 
when wilt thomcome ? 


i . Ban deuaw o Caer Seon, 

imlat ac itewon, 

1 tau Caer Leu a Gwidion. 

When I return froni Caer Seon,* from contending with 
Jews, I will come to the city of Leu and Gwydion.f 


Dabrede genhiw i'r Dinas," 
A thuit met ara phellas, 
Ac eur coeth ar di wanas. 
Cottie with me into the city, thou shalt have mead;}: which 
I have prepared, O thou with pure gold upon thy clasp.^ 

,™,„^. _,„ TALIESIN. 

Mi nid aduen y gur by, 

N N 2 ^ 

* Segontium, near CaernarTon, was caljed Caer SetmX, from the rirer 
Seicnt (Amnis Sagarum), being probably the place where the Seon, or Galli- 
cetue, landed irom Mona. ' The Sebn here mentioited was an isolated sanctuary 
•^-^eon Tewdor — or representative of the ark. See No. X. 

+ The former of these was the father of the Ciluvian patriarch. See Cadair 
Ceridwen, inserted in the third Sect. The latter was the British Hermes, often 

f The cup of initiation. 

i A trinket, which was viewed aa the inai^ne of an adept,— Aurilm. 

548; APPENDIX. . No. VIII. 

A meteu tan y gveli — 
Tec a chuec y dyuedi, ' 
I know not the confident rain, with his meads under his 
couch *^ — fair and courteous are thy words. 


Debre genhiw ipa tino, 
A thuit gwin gorysgelho : 
Ugnach yw vy heno, niab Mydno. 
Come with me to my dwelling,, and, thou have wine 

that briskly sparkles. Ugnach is my name, the son of 



Ugnach, benditli ith orset,, 
Athro rad ac enrydet ! ^ 

• Taliessin viw inheu, talaw iti dy gulet. 
Ugnach, a blessing attend thy, throne^f thou teacher, of 
liberality and honpur ! — I .am Taliesin, who will, repay thy 
banquet, f 


Taliessin, penh&w or gvvir, ' '■■ U 
Beitat yng kert kyurgir, >^ni >■. 
Trie yma hyd dyv Merchir. '" " 
Taliesin, chief of men, thou victdr in the contention of 
Bong^ remain here till Wedniesday. ' 


Ugnach, moihav y alaw, 

Ath ro rad y gulad penhaw : 

Ny haetaw Kabit, ny thrigiaw. 
Ugnach, the most affluent in riches, on thee may the 
supreme Ruler bestow his. bounty ! I merit not the booth — 
I may not stay. 

• The n«ro;, or cell of initi«tion. 

+ Or seat of presidency, which Ugnach filled, as chief of his order. 
By inboduction into his Helio-arkite mysteries. 

No. IX. APPENDIX. 549 

No. IX. 

A Songf apparently composed by Merddin the Caledonian, in 
form of a Dialogue between himself and I'aliesin, in which 
the Bard deplores the Persecution of the Druids.* 


Mor truan genhyf, mor truan 

A dery am Kedwy a chavan ! 

Oed llachar kyvlavar cyvlavan. 

Oed yscuid o Tryvrwyd, o truan ! 
How great my sorrow ! How woful has been the treatment 
of Kedwy f and the boat ! Unanimous was the' assault. Math 
gleaming swords. From the piercing conflict, one shield 
escaped. — Alas, how deplorable ! 


Oed Maelgwn a welwn, yn ymwan, 
Y deulu, rac ter y uulu, ni thawan. 
It was Maelgwn J whom I saw, with piercing weapoues 

before the master § of the fair herd, his household will not 

be silent. 


Rac deuwr, yn nentur, y tiran : 
Rac Errith a Churrith, y ar welugan. 
Meinwineu, yn ddiheu, a ddygan. 
Moch gweler y niver gan Elgan: 
Och, oe laith, mawr ateith y deuthan ? 
Before the two personages, they land in the celestial 

* W. Archaiol. p. 48 

f The Arkite goddess, whose appropriate emblem was the boat. In the 
days of Merddin, her votaries were exposed to a severe persecution. 

J The MagUcunus of Gildas. 

§ The tauriforra god, or his chief priest. 

550 APPENDIX. No. IX* 

circle* — before the passing form, and the fixed foirmf over 
the pale white boundary. 

The grey stones J they actually remove. Soon is Elgan§ 
and his retinue discovered — for his slaughter, alas, how 
great the vengeance that ensued ! 


Rys undant, oedd rychuant, y tarian. 

Hyd attad y daeth rbad eyflawn. 

Lias Cyndur, tra messur, y cwynan. 

Lias haelon o ddynon, tra fuan 

Trywyr nod, mawr eu clod, gan Elgan. 
Thou that rushest forth, with one tooth (thou boar) thy 
shield has overwhelmed. To thee, complete liberality had 
been extended — Excessively is the slaughter of Cyndur 
deplored — Slain are three men, || who were liberal in their 
lives ; even three eminent men, highly esteemed by Elgan. 


Trwy a thrwi, vug a rug, y daethan, 

Traw a thraw, undoeth Bran a Melgan. 

Llad Dyuel, oe diwed cyflafan, 

Ab Erbin, ae werin, a wnaethan. 
Through and through, wide and pointed, they came, ad- 
vancing and surrounding the only wise Bran (raven), the 
son of Elgan. Dywal, the son of Erbin, with his retinue, 
did they slaughter in their last assault. 


Liu Maelgwn, bu yscwn y daethan : 

* The circular temple, representing the zoSrac, &c. Tl is also called C^h 
balchNevwy, the magnijicent celestial circle, Cyjcft igidi the nvandane circle, £cc. 
t Some symbols of the moon and sun. 

t The persecHtors of the Druids, it seems, amongst other acts of hostility, 
broke to pieces, ot defJSed, the sacred circles. This was deemed, by the vo. 
taries of the old superstition, a most heinous outrage. See No. XIL 

■§ The sacred ox, or his chief priest. 

II These seem to haie been three attendant prietff. 

No. IX. APPENDIX. 551 

Aerwyr cad, trybelidiad, gwaedlan. 
Neu gwaith Arysderydd, 
Pan fydd, y deunydd, 
O hyd y wychydd, 

Y darparan. 
The host of Maelgwn, exulting, advanced: and severely 
did the embattled warriors pierce in the bloody inclosnre. 
Even the battle "of Arysderydd,* which is at hand, with th^ 
utmost energy will they prepare. 


Lliaws peleidrad, gwaedlad gwaedlan. 
. Lliaws aerwyr bryw breuawl Sidan.j 
Lliaws ban briwher : 
Lliaws ban foher, 
Lliaws eu hymchwel, 

Yn eu hjraiwan. 
A host of flying darts, in the bloody plain, prepare the 
banquet of gore, A host of warriors, destroy the tottering 
Sidan.f Many a festive horn is broken: many a horn- 
bearer is put to flight, whilst the host is forcing them back , 
to promiscuous slaughter. 


Seith meib Eliffer, 
Seith gwyr, ban broffer, 
Saith gwaew ni ochel, 

Yn eu seithran. 
The seven sons of Eliffer, J seven heroes, when put to 
the test, shun not the seven spears, in their seven stations. 

• Or Arderydd, in wliich the Northern establishment of the Jlruids was ut- 
terly ruined. See Sect. V. Merddin makes Taliesin prophesy of this calami- 
tous event. 

, t The same, I suppose, as Sidi or Sidin, the Hclio-arkite temple. See 
Sect. IV. This stanza seems to describe the fanatical battle of Arderydd. 

t Surnamed Gosgorddvawr, with the great retione. He was brother of 
CeidJaw, Gwenddoleu's father. 

552 APPENDIX. No. IX. 


Seith tan ufelin, 
Seith cad cyfeibin, 
Seithfed Cynfelin, 

Y pob cinhvan. 

Seven blazing fires will counteract seven battles : tbe se- 
venth is Cynvelyn,* in the front of every mount. 


Seith gwaew gowanon 
Seith loneid afon, 
O gwaed Ginreinon, 
, Y dylanwan. 
Seven piercing spears shall fill seven rivers; with the 
blood of leading heroes shall they fill them. 


Seith ugein haelon 
A aethan yg wllon ; 
Ynghoed Celiddon, 

Y darfuan. 
Canys mi Myrtin, 
Gwedi Taliesin, 
Bythawd cyffredin 

Fy darogan. 

Seven score liberal heroes are now become wandering spi- 
rits : in the forest of Caledonia,f they met their fate. 

Since I, Merddin, am next aft^r Taliesin, let my pro- 
phecy be received, in common with his. 

• Lord Belin, Dominus Sol. The name has been conferred upon some of 
hi8 favourite priests and votaries. In this passage, the mystagogue seems t« 
predict the re-establishment of his cause at some future period. 

' + Into which the remains of the Druid host retired for safety. 

No. X. APPENDIX. 553 

No. X. 

4 Song of Taliesin, called Marwnad Aeddon o Von, 
the Elegy of Aeddon * of Mona.f 

Echrys ynys 
Gwawd Hu, ynys 

Gwrys Gobrettor ; 
Mon, mad gogeu, 
Gwrhyd erfei, 

Menei ei dor. 
Lleweis wirawd 
Gwin a bragawd, 

Gan frawd esgor. 
Teyrn wofrwy, 
Diwedd pob rhwy, 

Rhwyf rhewintor. 
Tristlawn ddeon, 
Yr Arch Aeddon, 

Can rychior, 
Nid fu, nid fi, 

Ei gyfeissor. 
Pan ddoeth Aeddon, 
O wlad Wydion, 

Seon tewdor ; 
Gwenwyn pur ddoeth. 

* Lord of the Din — a title of the Helio-arkite god, who is styled Cadam 
Trydar, the mighty one of the Din. No. V. and Rhwyi) Trydar, Itader of the 
Din. Gododin. He seems to have derired these names from the fanatical hymni^ 
and frantic shouts of his votaries, at the hour of his rising. The title is here 
transferred to his priest. - 

+ See W. Archaiol. p. 70. 

554 APPENDIX. No. X^ 

Pedair Peunoeth, 

Meinoeth tymhor : 
Cwyddynt gytoed ; 
Ni bu clyd coed, 

Gwynt yn goror» 
Math ag Eunydd, 
Hudwydd gelfydd, 

Rydd elfinor. 
Ym myw Grwydion 
Ac Amaethon, 

Atoedd cynghor, 
Twll tal y rodawg, 
Ffyryf ffodiawg, 

iffyrf diachor: 
Cadarn gyngres 
Ei faranies, 

Ni bu warth for. 
Cadarn gyfedd, 
Ymhob Gorsedd, 

Gwnelid ei fodd. 
Cu cjrnaethwy ! 
Hyd tra fyw fwy, 

Disturbed is the island of the praise of Hr, the island 
of the severe remunerator; even Mona, of the generous 
bowls, which animate vigour — the island whose barrier, is 
the Menai. 

There I enjoyed the beverage* of wine and sweet liquor 
with a brother, who is now departed. The universal tyrant 
puts an end to every energy — the leader of destruction. 
Deplorable is the fate of the arkf of Aeddon, since it is 

m ' I I ■ - ' '* 

* Wliicli vas administered to tlie attendants at the sacred festival. 
4 The ark of the godj which was under the prot' .tioD of his priest. 

No. X. APPENDIX. 555 

perceived, that there neither has been, nor will there be his 
equal, in the hour of perturbation. 

When Aeddon came from the land of Gwydion, into 
Seon of the strong door,* a pure poison diffused itself for 
four successive nights, whilst the season was as yet serene. 
His contemporaries fell. The woods afforded them no 
shelter, when the winds arose in their skirts. Then M&th 
and Eunydd, masters of the magic wand, set the elements 
at large: but in the living Gwydion and Amaetkon, there 
was a resource of counsel, to impress the front of his shield 
with a prevalent form, a form irresistible. Thus the mighty 
combination of his chosen rank was not overwhelmed by 
the sea : and in every seat of presidency, the will of his 

* The ark; and hence the insulated fanes, sacred to Arkite mysteries. 
Gwydion was Hermes. His land may have been the old world, which was over- 
whelmed by the deluge ; as it was his traditional office to coBduct the dead into 
a region beneath the abyss. 

In this passage, we have much Arkite mythology. 

1. Tlie patriarch came from the land of Hermes, or the old world. 

2. He entered the inclosure of Seon, or of the nine sacred damsels, which 
was guarded by a strong door, or barrier. This inclosure was the ark. 

3. When he was shut up in this sanctuary, the great svpreme (See No. IIL^ 
sent forth a poisonous vapour, to destroy the wicked world. To this bane, the 
Bards often See Cadair Ceridwen, Marwnad Dylan, &c. But the 
messenger of death entered not tl;e inclosure of Seon. In the same strain of 
fable, Maelgwn is said to have retired into a church, to avoid the contagion of 
the yellow pestilence : here he would have been sate, had he not seen the 
demon of destruction through a small hvle in the door : but the inclosure of 
Seon was better secured. 

4. By this pestilential vapour, which filled the whole atmosphere, the pa- 
triarch's wicked contemporaries were destroyed. But the earth was still 
polluted. ' 

5. Then the great magicians, with their magic wands, set free the purifying 
elements : one of the effects of which, as described in the Triads, was the 
dreadful tempest of fire, which split the earth to the great deep, and con- 
sumed the greatest part of all that lived. W. Archaiol. V. II. p. 59. Upon 
this, the waters of Llyn Lllon, or the abyss, burst fofth. 

6. These powerful agents would have destroyed the patriarch and his family 
in Caer Seon, had not Hermes counselled him to impress a mystical form, or 
to strike a peculiar signal upon his shield. This, I (suppose, had the same 
effect as the horrid diii, with which tire heathens pretended to save tte moon, 
at the hour of her eclipse. ., 

7. This device, together with the integrity of the just ones, jjreserved them 
from being overwhelmed by the deluge. 

8. Hence, an imitation of thefefe adventures became a sacred institution, 
which was duly observed in the mysteries, and conducted by the presiding 

556 APPENDIX. No. X. 

mighty representative in the feast will be obeyed. The desEr 
leader of the course — whilst my life continues, he shaD be 

Echrys ynys 
Gwawd Hu, ynys. 

Gwrys gochymma. 
Y rhag Buddwas, 
Cymry ddinas' 

Aros ara ; 
Draganawl ben, 
Priodawr, perchen 

Ym Mretonia, 
Difa gwledig, 
Or bendefig, 

Ae tu terra ! 
Pedeir morwyn, 
Wedy eu cwyn, 

Dygnawd eu tra. 
Erddygnawd wir, 
Ar for, heb dir, 

Hir eu trefra : 
Oi wironyn, 
Na ddigonyn 

Dim gofetra. 
Ceryddus wyf, 
Na chrybwyllwyf 

A'm ry wnel da. 
I Iwrw Llywy 
Pwy gwa harddwy, 

Pwy attrefha ! 
I Iwrw Aeddon, 
Pwy gynneil Mou 

Mwyn gywaJa? 

No. XI. APPENDIX. 557 

Disturbed is the island of the praise of Hu, the island 
of the severe iiftpector. Before Buddwas,* may the com- 
munity of the Cymry remain in tranquillity; he being the 
dragon chief, the proprietor, the rightful claimant in 
Britannia ! 

What shall consume a ruler f of the illustrious circle — is 
it a portion of earth f The four damsels J having ended 
their lamentation, have performed their last office ; but the 
just ones toiled : on the sea which had no land, long did they 
dwell: of their integrity it vcasj.that they did not endure 
the extremity of distress. 

Yet still am I oppressed with sorrow, unless I commemo- 
rate my benefactor. In behalf of Uywy, who will now 
exercise restraint, who shall restore order ! In' behalf of 
Aeddon, who shall support Mona's benign associates ! 

No. xr. 

An ancient Poim, called Mabwnad Uthyr Pendragon, 
the Elegy of Uther Pendragoni^ 

To the readers of Geofftey of Monmouth, and his num- 
berless copyists, the name of Uther Pendragon, the old 

* A title' of Htt, who was venerated in t:he symbol of a huge serpent, and 
acknowledged as the supreme lord of Britain, where his chief priest governed 
as his vicegerent. See No. Xli , 

+ The priest, who was considered as still living, Orbe alio, tbongh his cor- 
poreal parts had been dissolved. 

J Gallicenie, Gwyllion, or Scon. , Those' devoted priestesses, whose offic? it 
was, in the. uiysteries, to lament the supposed death of their god, as the Jewish 
women wept for Tammuz. 

Here the Bard, as usual, digresses into his Artite mythology, — The Just ones, 
or Arkites, had been afflicte'd and tossed about upon the face of the deluge ; 
but their-integrity brought them to a safe harbour. The natural inference was, 
that this good priest, their votary, had also escaped from trouble. Notwiih- 
itanding this implied hope, the Bard is grieved for the departure of his bene- 
factor, whose loss will be long felt by the fraternity of Moua. 

$ The name implies wonderful supreme leader, or wonderful chief dragon. 

558 APPElsfDIX. No. XL 

King of the BritoHs^ must be perfectly familiar. In this 
poem, however, he appears in the charact^ of a heathen 
divinity, and his histoiy is clearly referable to that of the 
deified patriarch. 

In the former part of the piece, this divinity is personi- 
fied by one of his priests, who recites part of the attributes 
and history of the pageant god : in the latter part, he is 
addressed by a sacrificing;^ priest, with a prayer for the 
prosperity of Britain. The whole seems to have been taken 
from a mystical formulary. 


Neu fi liossawg yn trydar ; 

Ni pheidwn, *rhwng deu lu, heb wyar. 

Neu fi a elwir Gorlassar. 

Fy ngwregys bu envys im hesgar. 

Neu fi tywyssawg, yn nhywyll, 

A'm rithwy am dwy pen kawell. 

Neu fi, ail Cawyl, yn arddu, 

Ni pheidiwn heb wyar rhwng deulu. 

Neu fi, a amug fy achlessur, 

Yn divant, a charant, casnur. 

Nen'r orddyfneis i waed am wythur, 

Cleddyfal, hydyr, rhag meibion Cawr Nur ! 

Neu fi a rannwys fy echlessur, 

Nawfetran, yngwryd Arthur ! * 

Neu fi a dorreis cant Caer : 

Neu fi a leddais cant maer : 

Neu fi a roddeis cant lien : 

Neu fi a leddais cant pen : 

Neu fi a roddeis, i Henpen, 

The reader will recollect, that the titles of the Helio-arkite god have ofteo 
been conferred upon his priestSt and upon those princes w^o were favourites 
with the Druids and Bards. 
See W, Archaiol. p. rs. 

No. XI. APPENDIX. 559 

Cleddyfawr, gorfawr gynghallen. 

Neu fi a oreu terenhydd — 

Haearndor, edeithor pen mynydd. 

Ym gwedduit im gofid, 
Hydyr oedd gyhir ; 

Nid oedd fyd na bei fy Eissillydd. 

Mydwyf Bardd moladwy-angbywreint 

Poet y gan vrein, ac eryr, ac wytheint— 

Afagddu ae deubu ei gymaint. 

Pan ymbyrth pedrywyr rhwng dwy geint. 

Dringaw i nef oedd fy chwant, 

Rhag eryr, rhag qfh ainheicant. 

Wyf Bardd, ag wyf tetynawr, 

Wyf Pibydd, ag wyf Crythawr, 

Seith ugein cerddawr, 

Dy gorfawr gyngallen. 
, Behold me, who am powerful in the tumultuous din ; who 
would not pause between two hosts, without blood. Am I 
not called Gorlassar,* the atherial'? My belt has been a 
rainbow, enveloping my foe. Am iiot I a protecting prince 
in darkness, to him who presents my form at both ends of 

• There are many things worthy of remark in the character of this British 
Fantheas> as delineated by his priest and representative. , 

He is lord of the din, which, as we have seehjMs 4 (Inscription of the Helio- 
arkite god I'te is the god of war-r-the aetherial godr—and the deity to whom 
the rainbow pertains; that is, the deified Noah. See Cadair Ceridwen. 

He is a protector in darkness — a-husbandmani like the Diluvian patriarch — a 
protector of the ark, and Arkite temples, like the sovereign On. See No. IV. 

He is the vanquisher of the Diluvian giants, the inspirer of heroism, and the 
president of mystic lore. 

He gave the invincible sword "to Henhen (the ancient chief, some idolized 
monarch of early ages), and accomplished the purification of RaeamddoT, 
2"l^i>&«g», the ark, the same as Seqn.Xewdor, and Ynys Pyhyrddor. 

His state of affliction (during the deluge) was symbolized by an oi submitting 
to the yoke. He was the father of ail. mankind; and, as the great demon-god 
of the Bards, and their original instructor, he was skilled in all the mysteries 
of the ordet — being a Bard, a musician, and an enchanter. At the same time, 
he disliked the symbol' of the eagle, which may have offended the Druids, 
when he displayed bis wings on the Roman standard. 


the hive ? Am not I a plower, like Karsyl? Between two 
hosts I would not pause, without blood. Have not I pro- 
tected my sanctuary, and, with the aid of my friends, 
caused the wrathful ones to vanish ? Have not I shed the 
blood of the indignant, in bold warfare against the sons of 
the giant M«r? Have not I imparted, of my guardian 
power, a ninth portion, in the prowess of Arthur ? Have 
not I destroyed a hundred forts ? Have not I slain a hun- 
dred governors ? Have not I given a hundred veils ? Have 
not I slaughtered a hundred chieftains ? 

Did not I give to Henpen, the tremendous sword of the 
enchanter.? Did not I perform the rites of purification, 
when Haearndor moved with toil to the top of the hill ? 

I was subjected to the yoke for my affliction ; but com- 
mensurate was my confidence : the world had no existence, 
were it not for my progeny. 

I am the Bard — as for the unskilful encomiast, may his 
lot be amongst ravens, and eagles, and birds of wrath ! 
May utter darkness overwhelm him, when he supports the 
square band of men, between two fields ! 

It was my will to ascend into heaven from the eagle, to 
avoid the homage of the unskilful. I am a Bard : I am a 
master of the harp, the pipe, and the crooth. Of seven 
score musicians, I am the mighty enchanter. 

Bu calch fri friniad, 
Hu, esgyll edeniad, 
Dy fab, dy Feirddnad, 
Dy Veir, Dewn dad — ■ 
- - - - Fy nhafawd, 
I draethu marwnad, 
Handid o meinad 
Gwrthgloddikd byd. 

Np. XI. APPENDIX. 561 

Pryd Prydain, Hu ysgeiij, 3nnhwyllad. 
Gwledig Nef, ynghennadeu nam doad ! 
Kein gyfeddwch, 

Y am deulwch, 

Llvvch o'm plaidj 
Plaid; am gaer, 
Caer yn ehaer, 

Ry ys crifiad, 
Virein fFo rhagddaw, 

Y ar lleii caw, ; 

.Mwyedig vein ; „ 

Dreig amgyiFrj?u, 
Odduch lleeu 

. Llestreu Had ; 
. . Llad yn eurgyrn, 
Eurgyrn yn Haw, 

Llaw yn ysci, 
Ysci ymodrydaf, 
Fur itti iolaf, 

A Manhogan, Rhi, 
Ryeidwei deithi, 

Ynys Fel Veil ! 
Privileged on the covered mount,* O Hu with the ex- 

• GO 

* In this passage we may remark, 1. The titles and character of the god. 
9. The character and office of the priest. And 3. The time and place where he 
performs his sacred function. 

The god is named Hu, and the glancing Hu, who is described as having ex- 
panded wiipgs : he is invoked as the father of the priest— -he has the title of 
Deon, distributor, and Prydain, ruler of seasons : he Is the gliding king, that is, 
the dragon, who pursues the fair one — alludijig to some such fable as that which 
represents Jupiter in the form of a dragon, as violating Proserpine, and byher 
becoming the father of Bacchus. See Myst. of the Cabiri, V. I. p. 208. He 
is also named the victorious Beli, that is, the sun, and adored as lord and pro-^ 
tector of the British isle. 

The priest describes himself asthesonof the god — his Bardic proclairaer, or 
Hiystagogue, and his deputy governor. His office was to recite the death 


panded winge, lias been fhy son, thy Bardic proclaimer, 
thy deputy, O father Beon; my voice lias recited the 
death song, where the mound, rejpresenting the world, is 
constructed of stone worlj. Let the countenance of Pry- 
dain, let the glancing ttu attend to me! O sovereign of 
heaven, let not my message be rejected ! 

"VV^ith solemn festivity round the two lakes; with the 
lake next my side ; wit& my side moving round the sanc- 
tuary ; whilst the sanctuary is eaypeslly invoking the gliding 
?ot I before whom the fair one retreats, upon the veil that 
iAj^eis the huge stonefe ; whilst the dragon moves round, 
over the places which contain vessels of drink offering ; 
whilst the drink offering is in the golden horns ; whilst the 
golden horns are in the hand ; whilst the hand is upon the 
knife; whilst the knife is upon #ie chief victim; sincerely 
I implore thee, O victorious Beli, son of the sovereign 
MaQ-Hoga.n, that thou wouldst ■preserve the honours of the 
HONEY island of Beli!* 

song, before the victim was strnck-^p invoke the god — to lead the mystical 
procession round the sacred lakes and the temple— ^to offer a libation with the 
born of consecrated liquor ; and then to take the knife and slay the victim. 

These ceremonies are performed at a public and solemn festival, whilst the 
sanctuary, or assembly of priejits and votari^^ mvoke the dragon king : and 
the place of celebration is on the sacred mount, within thd stone circle and 
mound, which represeiited,the Avorld— and near the conieerated lakes. 

At this time, the huge stones of the temple were covered with a veil, on 
which was delineated the history of the dragon king. There seems also to 
have been a living dragon, or serpent, as a symbol Of the god, who is de- 
scribed -as gliding from place to place, and tasting the drink offering in the 
sacred vessels. 

• Britain, or the island of Beli, was also the island of Ha, No. X. : but Hu 
and Belt were the ^ame. 

ifo. XII. APPENDIX. 563 

No. XII. 

An ancient Poem, entitled Gwawd Lludd y Mawe, the 
Praise of Ltvddthe Great* 

Lludd, or Llud, the son of Beli, is represented in our 
romantic chronicles, as the elder brother of Cassivellaufius* 
who fought with Julius Caesar. His name does not occur 
in this very obscure poem, which is evidently the work of 
an obstinate, heathen, and contains some carious traits of 
British mythology. 


Kathl goreu gogant, 
Wyth nifer nodant, 
Duw Llun dybyddant, 
Peithiawg ydd ant ; 
Duw Mawrth yd rannant, 
Owyth yn ysgarant : 
Duw Merchyr medant, 
Ryodres, rychwant; 
Duw leu escorant 
Eiddiolydd anchwant ; 
Duw Gwener, dydd gormant, 
Yngwaed gwyr gonovant; 

Duw Sadncrn - 

Duw Sul, yn geugant, 
Dieu dybyddant, 
Pum Hong, a pbum cant, 
O'r anant oniant — 
Q Brithi Brith oi 

o o 2 

• W.ArcUaioli p. 74. 

564 APPENDIX. :No. Xll. 

Brithi brith anhai 

Sych edi edi eu rot 

Eil coed cogni, 

Antaredd dymbi, 

Pawb i Adonai, 

Ar weryd Ptsmpai. 
A song of dark import was composed by the distinguished 
Ogdoad* who assembled on thie day of the moon,t and 
went in open procession : on the day of Mars^ they allotted 
wrath to their adversaries : on the day of Mercury, they 
enjoyed their full pomp : on the day of Jove, thiey were 
delivered from the detested usurpers : on the day of Venus, 
the day of the great influx, they swam in the blood J of 
men : on the day of Saturn ------ on the day 

of the sun, there truly assemble five ships, § and five hun- 

* It may be inferred, from the general tenor of the gpcm. that this Ogdoad 
consisted of the Diluvian patriarch and' his famiFy. ' They were> therefore, th« 
same as Sydyk and his seven sons, the Cabiri,. mentioned by Sanchoniatho ; 
and the same as the sacred, Ogdoad, or eight primitive gods of Egypt, whft 
guided the ship of the sphere, thus'making the ark an emblem of the system of 
the heavens. See Faber's Myst. of the Cftbiri, V. I. pp. 56, 61, 76. Bryant's 
Analysis, V. II. p. 234. 

+ These supposed labours of the DiluVians seem to have been regarded as 
models of a. Druidical festival, in which the varidus rites had their appro- 
priate days, 

i The accumulating deluge, which orerwhelmcd and dashed to pieces the 
inhabitants of the earth, is figuratively styled the blood of men. Sanchoniatho 
speaks of the blood of the primitive race, as being mixed with rivers and 

§ Or> Jive ships, with Jive hundred men, embarked. These wer^ wicked inha- 
bitants of the old world , who being now terrified by the raging flood, approach 
the ark of the just man, and pray for protection. ' 

Their prayer is in a foreign language, probably that of the mysteries which 
were introduced by CoU, the Cornish liierophant. Taliesin has elsewhere 
informed us, that, the spotted eat of Hona, one of the idols which pertained 
to this superstition, was attended by men of a foreign language. We are also 
told by the same Bard, that the SrQidical lore had been delivered in Hebretp, 
or Hebraic- See No XIII. And the words, Adonai and Pompai, which occur 
in the context, seem to imply, that this fragraent has a near afiinity to the 
Hebrew, or some of its dialects. In that language, the former of these terms 
signifies lord ; and Mr. Bryant tells us, that P'ompi means the eracle. — Ana- 
lysis, V. I. p. 259. 

Some idea of the purport of this passage may be collected from the context; 
and as it may serve to determine ttjie important question, whether the Druids 

No;xit. . APPENDIX. 66^ 


dred of those who make supplication — " O Brithi Brith oi, 
" &c. ----__ O son of the compacted wood, 
" the shock overtakes me : we all attend upon Adanai, on 
the area of Fumpai." 

2. . , 

Darpfyn darogan, > 

Gwaedd hir, rhag gorman : 

Hir cyhoedd cynghan, 

Cadwaladr a "Chynan 

Byd, buddydd bychah, . 

Difa "gwres Huan. 

Dysgogan Deruydd, 

A'vu auudydd, 

Wybr Geirionydd, 

Cerddawn a genhydd 

Wylliawd, eil echwydd, 

Yn nhoirroedd Llynydd — 

Ban beu llawn hydd ; 

Brython ar gynghydd, ' 

I Vrython dymbi, 

Gwred gwned ofri. 

Gwedi eur ag eurynni, 

DifFaith Moni a Lleeni, 

Ac Eryri, annedd ynddi. 

Dysgogan perfFaith : 

Annedd yn diffaitw. 

possessed sacred hyitins in the Plidnieian language, I shall attempt to write the 
lines in Hebrew characters, with the hope, that some good Orientalist may 
think them worthy of attention ; and if they present the vestiges of Fhceniciau 
anliqaily, do me the favour of correcting them. 

>3x n'-in >nn3 
'yi in nn nn id 

566 APl>ENDIX. Np. XII.- 

Cymry pedeiriaith 

Symudant ,eu h^raith. 

Yd y vi y vuch freith, 

A wnaho gwynieith, 

Meinddydd brefawd ; 

Meinhoeth berwhawd: 

Ar dir berwhodawr, 

Yn llonydd yssadawr. 
They implore the oracle with loud and continued cry, 
against the overwhelming. 

In their public and united song, long had Cadwaladr and 
Cynan * declared to the unprpfitable world, that the heat of 
the sun should be wasted. It \yas the presage of the Druid,f 
who earnestly attended iii the oethereal temple of Geirio- 
nyddjj to the songs of the Gwyllion, the children of the 
evening, in the bosoms of the lakes — " When the covert 
" shall be full,| when the Britons || shall be cencealed to- 
" gether; then shall the Britons have an inclosure of great 
" renown. After the possession of gpld and glittering 
" trinkets, Moni and Lleeni shall become desolate, and 
" Eryri (the heights of Snowdon) shall receive inhabitants." 

* Cadwaladrf supreme ruler of battle — a title of the Diluvian patriarch : 
Cynan, the prince— one of his sons. This passage implies some tradition of the 
preacher' of rigbteoumess-: but how^is his character perverted ! 

+ The patriarch, as father and priraarji instructor of the Druids, is so styled 
by way of eminence. See No. IV. s*nd XI. 

t The dominion of Gwair, the son of Geiriawri, the word afjtistice, other- 
wise called the son of Gweityl, tUe great teiupest. This Gwair was the Dilu- 
van patriarch. See Sect. V. and App. No^ ill. Taliesin, the Arkite priest, 
was said to have dwelt upon the bank of the lake of Geirionydd. The pa- 
tri^rcli is fabled to have had a temple, open to the sky, like the C jer Sidi of tfie 
jDruids. The GwyUion, or GwyUawd,.\iere the prototypes of Mela's GaUicen^. 

§ This prophecy of the Gwyllion ailludes to the ark, which was fabulously 
reported to have rested upon Erji-j, or the heights of Snowdon. Such was the 
local appropriation of Diluvian history. See Sect. H. and III. 

H As Bardic mythology placed the principal events of the Diluvian age within 
this island, so the patriaicb and his fam^y aie emphatically styled Brython. Are 
we still to look for the origin of that name in Eastern mythology, and 4ri the root 

n"Q,' wllofice rinS, and Jin'~Q ? The language of the Bard seems to 
favour that idea. 

No, Xlt APPENDIX. 567 

It is a perfect vaticination— There will be dwelling in the 
desart, and the Cymry of four dialects will change their 
speech — ^Then will come the Spotted cow,* which sha]i pro- 
cure a blessing. On the serene day will she bellow ; on the 
eve of May shall she be boiled, and on the spot- where her 
boiling is completed, shall her consumer rest in peace, 


Cathl gwae canhator, 

Cylch Prydain, amgor. 
- Dedeiiant, un gyngor, 

I wrthod gwarthmor. 

Boet gwir Venuit, 

Dragwynawl byd, 

Dolwys dolhwy K^d, 

Dol aethwy eithyd, 

Cynran llawn yt, 

Cysarth cynud. 

Heb eppa, heb henvonva, 

Heb ovur byd, 

Byd a fydd difFaith, 

Diraid cdgeu, tynghettor 

Hoywedd trwy gvoywedd. 
liCt the song of woe be chaumtedj-f- round the sacred 

* Emblem of the ark — bellowing, tefore tbe deluge, foi 'm sa\eet company 
—then boiled, or tossed about by the flood, and finally consumed en the spot 
■where the patriarch landed, and found rest. 

+ This division of the poem presents a traditioni of Nimrod'a rcbelJion, oiti^f 
a subsequent dereliction of some principles, which tbe Druids deemed sacred. 
His customairy honours had been withholden from the patiiiarcb, wlio is here 
described as ruler of the sea, in allusion ft> his riding upon tbe deluge, fiei 
has the name of Menwyd, which, if it be British, seems to imply the bUsiei^ 
he is'the dragon chief of the world, or the uniyersai patiiancb and king, vene- 
rated under the symbol of a dragon-^he is the fabricator of £y<J, OT the anfe, 
in which he traversed the waters of the abyss. 

Xhis ark was stored with corn : hence Ceres, her apjwopitate genius^ as well 
as the British Ceridwcn, was the loWess of corn ; and, like tire car of Genes, 
the , British ark was ^0(ne aloft by ^ei^ents, t&ese favourite symbols of 
Helio-arkite idolatry. - 

The adversaries of Menwyd wished to remove or destroy three thiags— >fitsta 


border of Britain! Men will assemble, with one purpose, 
to resist Gwarthmor (him who presided over the sea) — Let 
truth be ascribed to Menwyd, the dragon chief of the zeorld, 
who formed the curvatures of Kyd, which passed- the dale of 
grievous water, having the for€ part stored with corn, and 
mounted aloft with the connected serpents. 

Without the ape, without the stall of the cow, without 
the mundane rampart, the world will become desolate, not 
requiring the cuckoos to convene the appointed dance over 
the greeq. 


Gwyr bychain bron otwyllyd, 

Torwennawl tuth iolydd, 

Hwedydd ar fedydd. 

Ni wan cyllellawr 

Meiwyr cleddyfawr. 

Nid oedd uddu y puchyssyn : 

Maw angerddawl trefddyn, 

Ac i wyr caredd creuddyn, , 

Cymry, Eingyl, Gwyddyl, Prydyn. 

Cymry cyfred ag asgen, 

Dygedawr gwyddfeirch ar Uyn. 

Gogledd a wenwynwyd o Hermyn, 

the ape. This animal tlie Egj'ptians held sacred to t"he god Apis (Bryant's 
Analysis, V. I. p 335),. who was Noah (Tb. V. II. p. 268), worshipped under 
the form of a bull. lb. p. 418. 

As the ape was not a native of Britain, or of any other Northern climate, it 
may be Inferred, that the Druidism of this Bard was tinctured with the super- 
siidon of some Southern people. 

The second object of persecution was the stall of the cow, or the cell which 
contained the< symbol of the Arl^te goddess : and the third was the mundane 
rampart, or circular temple, representing the great belt, which surrounds the 

Thp fanatical Bard deems the ape, the stoJJ of the cow, and the consecrated 
circle, of such importance, that he fancies the world would become desolate 
when thoy were destroyed ; and in vain should the cuckoo proclaim the ap- 
proach of the great festival in the beginning of May, with its solemn proces- 
sion, and sacred dance. This dance is mentioned No. II. IV. and XIV. 


O echlur, caslur, caslun, 

O echen Addaf henyn, 

Dygedawr trydw i gychwyn, 

Bianes o gosgordd gwyreiii 

Merydd miled Seilhin. 

Ar for angor a'r Cristin. 

Uch o for, uch o fynydd, 

Uch o for ynial, erbyn 

Coed, maes, tyno a bryn. 

Yd vi pob arawd 

Heb erglywaw nebawd, 

Crynhawg o bob mebyn. 

Yd fi brithred, 

Alliaws gynnired, _ 

A gofud am weliyn. 

Yd fi dialeu, 

Trwy hoyw gredeu, 

Goddi Dduw Urddin. 
Men of little mind are partly misled by the worshipper 
of the white-bellied wanderer, the hunter of baptism.* 
The knife-bearerf shall not pierce the swordsmen of May.J 
They have not obtained thei^ wishes— neither the ardently 
ambitious proprietor, nor the violent, blood-sttiined men, 
whether Cymry^ Angles, Gwyddelians, or North Britons. 

The Cymry, flying in equal pace with ruin, are launch- 
ing their wooden steeds (ships) upon the water. The North 
has been poisoned by depredatory rovers, of pale and dis- 
gusting hue, and hateful form, of the race of Adam§ the 
Ancient, whom the flight of ravens has thrice compelled to 

* In this obscure passage, the Bard camplaios of the coriuptors and perse* 
cutors of his religion. 

+ The Saxon ; alluding to the affair at Stonehenge. 

J The Britons; whq carried arms in their mystical processions. Spe No. XIV. 

§ A scoff at Scripture history. 'The Bardsy forsooth, were not children «f 
the fallen Adam, but of the regenerate Noah. 


change their abode, and leave the exalted society of Seithin* 
haunters of the watery plain. 

At sea, there is an anchor with the Qristin.f There is a 
cry from the sea, a cry from the mountain. From the tu- 
multuous sea, the cry strikes the wood, the plain, the dale> 
and the hill. 

There will he discordant speeches, to which none can at- 
tend> ^nd inquiries from every quarter. 

There wiU be a tumultuous flight, and abundant distress. 
There will be retaliation for wavering faith, purposed by 
the glorious god. 


Pell amser, cyn dydd braw4> 

Y daw diwarnawd, 

A dwyrein darlleawd 

Terwyn tirion tir Iwerddon. 

I Brydain, yna; y daw dadwyrein, 

Brython o fonedd Rhufein. 

Am bi barnodydd, o anghynres, dieu. 

Dysgogan Sywedyddion, 

Yngwlad y coliedigion : 

Pysgogan Derwyddon, 

Tra nj6r, "tra Brython, 

Haf ni bydd hinon, 

Bythawd breu breyron : 

Ai deubydd ogwanfred, 

Tra merin Tad Ced. 

Mil ym byawd Brydain Urddin 

Ac yam gylfwn kyffin. 

Na chwyaf yngoglud gwern 

Gwerin gwaelodwedd Uffern ; 

• The patrUrch— the Satorn of the DIU^ds^, See Sect. III. 
t Professor of. Christianity. 


Ergrynaf cyllestrig caen, 
Gan wledig gwlad anorphen. 

liOrig before the day of doom,* shall the time arrive, 
when the East shall surviey the fair botders of Erin's land.-J- 
Then shall Britain have a re-exaltation — Britons shall be 
delivered from the race of Rome ; and I shall have judges. 
Hot banding together,' but void of guile. 

The diviners vaticinate in the land of those who have 
been lost. J— Druids § fi'om beyond the sea^beyond the 
Northern Britons, predict a summer, in which the rain 
shall not cease. Then shall the great ones be broken — they 
shall have their feeble wanderings beyond the effusion of 
the father of Kid.\\ — The animal (KM) shall award tome 
the dignified Britain,^ with its united boundaries. 

And, lest I sink, adhesive to the quagmire** of that 
multitude, which people's the depths of hell, I will tremble 
before the covering stone, with the sovereign of boundless 

* The Druids had some idea of a day of doom: atl^ast, the phrase oftei) 
occurs in the most heathenish paragraphs of the apcient poems. ^Something ot 
the same kind has been remarked iii the tales of the £dda. 

+ As this is a pretended prophecy of the O^doad, we may suppose that the 
Bard alludes to certain events, which had, occurred. previous to his own age; 
and which he affected to regard as the accomplishment of the prophecy. 

J Diviners of the primitive world, which had been overwhelmed by tlie 
deluge. He probably means the Ogdoad, who had. prophesied before the flood. 

§ These fanatics had established a seminary iu the Notth^ out of the reach of 
Koman arms. See Sect. V _ . ; i 

II The DiJuvian patriarch, who produced Kfed, the. sacred ship. The Bard 
consigns his enemies to the bojtotii of the abvss,. 

^ Or, re-establish the arch Diuid, as supreme ruler of Britaii;- See No. I. 

•• Such was the British hell. Tlie BardS' tell iis, it abouilded with frost 
Knd snow, and fiai infested bj a variety qi noxious and. tiJ^thsume auimals. 


No. XIII. 

fhe Conclusion of TaUesin's Angae Cyvynbawd.* . 

Ath gyfarchaf, fargad fardd. 

Gwr yth gynnydd esgyrn niwl, 

Cwddynt deu raiadr gwynt ! 

Traethator fyngofeg, 

Yn Efraij ya Efroeg. 

Eilgweith ym rhithad. 

Bfim glas gleisiad : 

Bum ci : bum hydd : 

Bum Iwrch ym mynydd : 

Bum cyff : bum thaw: 

Bum bwyall yn Haw : 

Bum ebill yngefel, 

BIwyddyn a hamier : 

Bum ceiliawg brithwyn 

Ar ieir, yn Eidin : 

Bum Amws ar Re : 

Bum tarw toste : 

Bum bwch melynawr, 

Mai y maethawr : 

Bum gronyn erkennis, 

Ef tyfwys ym mryn ; 

A mettawr am dottawx 

Yn sawell, ym gyrrawr ' 

Ymrygiaw o law. 

With fy nghoddeidia'W. « 

^MWMM _ I ■ I I - , _ ■ III 

• A translation of tlie former part, Telative to the parentage and character 
of the British Apolloi is inserted in the Celt. Bes./p. 553. 

The extract which follows relates to the priest of that god, and recites the 
Tarious characters he had sustained in his progress through the circle of ttans- 
migration, or the stages of initiation. 

See W, Archaiol. p. 36. 

1^0, Xin. APPENDIX. 573 

A'm harfoUes iar 

Grafrudd, grib escar. 

Gorffwysseis navv nos, 
' Yn ei chroth, yn was. /. 

Bum Aedd, aeduedig : 

Bum Had, rhag gwjledig: 

Bummarw: bumbyw; 

Keing ydd ym eiddaw, • • 

Bum i arweddawd, 

Y rhagddaw bum tlawd. 

A'm eil cynghores gres 

Grafrudd ; am rhoddes, 

Odid traethator 

Mawr molhator. 
Mi wyf Taliesin ; 

Ryphrydaf iawn llin, 

Parahawd hy4 ffin, 

Ynghynelw Elphin. 
' To thee, O Bard of the borders, I address myself; 
JVIayest thou be advanced by him, whose bones were formed 
of mist, in the place where two cataracts of wind mingle 

My lore has been declared in Hebrew, in Hebraic* — a se- 
cond time was I formed. I have been a blue salmon : I have 
been a dog ; I have bpen a stag : I have been a roebuck on 
the mountain : I have been a stock of a tree : I have been a 
gpad"e: I have been an axe in the hand : I have been a pin 
in a forceps, for a year and a half: I have been a cock, 
variegated with white, upon hens, in Eidin : I have been a 
staUion upon a mare : I have been a buck of a yellow hue, 
in the act of feeding : I have been a grain f of the Arkites^ 

* His lorei, therefore, was not regarded as peculiar to the Druids of Britain. 

+ Sep (lie story c»lled. Hane* Tatiesin, ia the third , Section of the preceding 



which vegetated on a hill ; and then the reaper placed me 
in a smoky recess, that I might be compelled freely to yield 
my corn, when subjected to tribulation. I was received by 
a hen,* with red fangs and a divided crest. I remained 
nine nights an infant in her womb. I have been Aedd,f 
returning to my former state. I have been an offering 
before the sovereign. I have died; I have revived; and, 
conspicuous with my ivy branch,J I have been a leader, 
and by my bounty T became poor. ^ 

Again was I instructed by the cherisher with red fangs. 
Of wh^t she gave me, scarcely can I utter the great praise 
that is due. I am now Taliesin — I will compose a just 
stijing, which shall remain to the end of time, as a model 
to Elphin; 

No. XIV. 

A Poem, from the ancient MS. of ThpqpMlm Jones, Esq.\ 
It immediately follows Aneurin's Gododin, and is probably 
the Work of the same Author.^ The Title, which seems 
to have consisted of two short Words, is wholly obliterated. 

Aryf angkynnuU, 
Angkyman dull, , 

Twryf en agwed. 

* This mystical Hen, as the reader has seeu, was the Arkite goddess. 

f This seems to have been a title of the Diluviaii patriarch, or Helio-arkite 
god, with whom his priest claimed a mystical union. 

f t The heathen Britons crowned themselves with ivy branches, when they 
celebrated the mysteries of Bacchus. ^ 

§ See an imperfect copy, W. Archaiol. p. 21. 

II The manifest intention of this poem, is to recommend to the Britons the 
use of arms. The Bard first of all recites the solemn custom of carrying them 
in the celebration of Bacchic rites : and then touches upon the calamitous fate 
of those British nobles, who laid aside their arms in their conference with 


Etsc Menwed ; 
Erac raawrwed ; 

Eraq mai;ied ; 
Pan ys ty em gwern, 
Earn gam gym, 

Earn gam gled, 
Alluawr Peithi, 

Peithliw racwed; 
Yd y gweles, 

Tardei galled, 
Dy gochwiawr, 
A ehloi, a phSr, 
A phexth, a pher. 
A rud uorua, 
Ac yaioraa, 
Ag ewyonydd, 
A gwynheidydd, 

Kein edryssed. 
Trybedawt rawt, 
Rac y devawt, 

Eil dal irosised : 
Taryaneu bann. 
Am dal hen bann, 

By edryssed: 
Blaid e vywyt, 
Oed bleidyat ryt, 

Eny dewred, 
Pu bell peleidyr, 
Pevyr, prytneldyr, 

O Inch nadred. 
Gwelyd in rwyt. 


Rieia gared, 
Carat vrgi^vyw, 
Carjvn dy vyw, 

Vut heywred. 
Gam hurawc dam, 
Cwynaf dy varw, 

Carut dylie4r 
Baran mor, yg kynhoryf gwyr, 

Y am gatpwU, 
Ymwan Bran yg kynwyt. 
Those who support ho weapon, will have a lacerated 
form, when the tumult arises. 

In the pr.esence of the hiessed ones ; * hefore the great 
assembly; before the occupiers of the holme ;•!• when the 
house + was recovered from the swamp, surrounded with 
crooked horns and crooked swords, in honour of the mighty 
king§ of the plains, the king with open countenance: — I 
saw dark gore arising on the stalks of plants, on the clasp 
of the chain, 11 on the bunches, on the sovereign, on the 
bush and the spear. Ruddy was the sea beach, whilst the 
circular revolution was performed by the attendants, and 
the white bands,^ in graceful extravagance. 

The assembled train were dancing, after the manner, and 
singing in cadence", with garlands ** on their brows : loud 

* Menwed, wliicli is of> the same import as J)fenwj/(2, a title of the Diluviaa 
patriarch. No. XII. 

+ The insular stall of the sacred ox, or tauriform god. 

I The shrine, drawn forth by the sacred oxen. 

[ § Hu, the Helio arkite god, the British Bacchus. 

II The chain here mentioned, was that of the sacred oxen— the bunches or 
knobs belonged to their collar. See No. III. The sovereign was the god himself, 
or the priest who personated his character : and the spear was the thyrsus, which 
probably carried something of a P/mUic allusion. 

^ The Druids, who led the circulat dance. 

•* Dionysius informs us, that the British bacchanals were crowned with gai* 
lands of ivy. 


was the clattering of shields, round the ancleiit catildron> 
in frantic mirth : and lively was the aspect of him, who, in 
his prowess, had snatched over the ford,* that involved 
ball, which casts its rays to a distance, the splendid product 
of the adder, shot forth by serpents. 

But wounded art thou, severely wounded, thou delight of 
princesses, thou who lovedst the living herd! It was my 
earnest wish that thou mightest live, O thou of victorious 
energy! Alas, thou bull, wrongfully oppressed, thy death 
I deplore. Thou hast been a friend of tranquillity^ 

In view of the sea, in the front of the assembled men, 
and near the pit of conflict, the raven has pierced thee in 
wrath ! 

Tardei donn, 
Gyvryngon : 

Gowydawc byt, 
Ef gwrthodes, 
Ai llwyth peues, 

Ar lies pedyt, 
Pedwar lliwet, 
Petwar mi let, 

Aessawr yh nellt ; 

A llavyn eg wallt, ' 

Un o bedror : 
p p 

* The same fable, respecting the acquisition of the Anguinunij which is re- 
lated by Plinj — 

Freetera est ovorum genus in magnk Galliarum fanii, omissum Oroecis. An- 
gues innumeri sstate convoluti, saiivis faucium, corporumqne spiimis, glome 
rantui ; Anguinam appellatur. Druids sibilis id dicunt in sublims jactari 
aagoque opportere intcrcipi, ne tellurem attingat. Profugere raptorem equo ! 
ferpeates enim insequi, donee arcentnr amnis alicujus interventu, &c. 

Hist. Nat. L. XXIX. c. 3 

As the person who had acquired this prize was styled a bull, it may be con- 
jectured, that it was his priTilego to represent the tauriform god in the soleraci 

578 APPlE^NDlX. No. XIV. 

Gwr gwyllyas, 

Med meitin, 
Gwr teirn vawr, 
O blith porphorj 

Pbrthloed bedin. 
Bieeia Tutvwlch ' * 

Betranret dost, 

Bengwaed gwin : 
Yr med a fawryf, ' 
Yd aethant aeiyf, 

Dros eu hawfin; 
Gwyalvan weith, 
Er cadw kyvreitb, 

Bu kyvyewia. 
Kynan kenon 
Teithyyw o Von, 

Ax vreint gorllin ; 
Tutvwlch kyvwlch, 
A oreu ywlob, 

Ar vann caeten, 
Gan Vynydawc, 
Bu atveilljawc* 

Eu gwirodeu. 
Bl wyddyre hi; aeth 
Er gwjT.Catraetb, , 

A'm maeth, ys men— 
Eu llavneu dur — 
Eu med, eu bur, 

. Eu hualeu— 
Aryf angkynnuU, 
Angkyraan dull, 

Twryf neus kigleuJ . 

No. XIV. APP£I^D1X. &f9 

And now A wave * bursts forth from the cehtl'al region } 
the afflicter of the world refused, from the inhabitants of 
the land, and for the benefit of his train, four multiiudes,f 
and four that were resigned,, to the chace of thfe universal 

The shield is split into lath; $ but his blade descends ott 
the head of one selected § from the quadrangle — of that 
man who, even now, had been poUring mead from the blue 
horns, the great ruler, enveloped in purple, the supporter of 
the army. 

The dignified Tudvwlch had attended the woful assem^bly,; 
in which blood was mixed with wine — in which they who 
freely regaled with mead, drank of the cup o;f slaughter, 
amidst their excess ; and the inclosure that had been Wat- 
tled, for the preservation of law, became full of confusion. 

The princely Cynan had journeyed from Mona, to sup- 
port the privilege of the higher order : Tudvwlch^ the bat- 
terer, had made breaches in the bastions of forts t hence 
the destruction they found, in their banquet with My- 
nyddawg. |[ 

For the men of Catraeth, my supporters, I have borne a 
year^f of sorrow. Their steel blades — their mead — their 

p P 2 

* This wave was Hengist and his Saxons. The imagination of the Bards was 
so wholly engrossed by their Dilntian lore, that they' borrowed most of theit' 
imagery from it. 

t The inhabitants of those districts which Vottigern Had assigned to .Hengist. 

J When Hengist advised, that shields should be excluded from the place of 
conference, as useless and inconvenient in a friendly assembly, he seems to 
have hewn his own shield into splinters, by way of enforcing his argument. 
Aneurin, in the Gododin, speaks of his leaving at a distance the shield that 
was split into lath. 

§ Tudmvlch, whom Hengist sdected'fof his own victim, and for that purpose 
placed next to him at the fSast. The fate of this prince is deplored in the 
songs of the Gododin. 

II TJie mountain chief— Yortigetn the Venedotian, as in the Gododin. 

^ Hence it appears, that this pbfem was composed a year after the massacro 
of the nobles at Stonehenge, or about A. D. 473. Aneurin had witnessed th» 
horrid scene, and the groans of the d^ing still sounded in his ears. 

580 APPENDIX- No. XV. 

violence — their assortment in pairs ! — ^Those who carry no 
weapons, have their form lacerated — Do I not still hear the 
tumult ! 

No. XV. 

Amongst the most curious productions of the ancient 
British muse, we may class those little poems, which are 
called Gwarchanau, charms, or talisinans; or else Gorchanau, 
incantations. In additioa to the general lore of Druidism, 
these pieces bring forward certain mystical amulets, which 
were delivered to the patriotic warriors, as infallible pledges 
of the protection of the gods; and which were evidently 
remains of the renowned magic of the Britons. The lan- 
guage of these compositions is of difficult construction, 
and the slibject, as might be expected, mysterious and ob- 
scure. Nevertheless, as an "exhibition of them may be 
deemed essential in the exposure of our national supersti- 
tion, I shall present the reader with the originals, from the 
oldest known MS. togetlier witn a close translation, and a 
few explanatory notes.* 


Ex vetusto codice membranaceo Theoph, Jones, Armii 

Ny phell gwyd aval o avail. 
Ny chynnyd dyual a dyvall. 
Ny byd ehpvyn noeth en ysgall, 
Pawb, pan ry dyngir, yt ball. 

* There are three of these pieces preserved; bat I shall reserve tUe taiinnan 
of Vuncbdine, till I offer some remarks upon the oM British coins. 

No. XV. APPENDIX. 581 

A garwn y ef carei anreithgar ! 
Ny byd marw dwyweith, 
Nyt amsud y vud e areith ! 
Ny cheri gyfofni gyvyeith. 
Emis emwythwa,s amwyn ; 
Am swrn, am gorn kuhelyn, 
En adef tangdef, col] it. 
Adef led, buost lew en dyd mit, 
Kudvyt keissyessyt keissyadon. 
Main uchel, medel e alon> 
Dyvea ar waichan Adebon. 


The apple will not fall far distant from the tree. The 
sedulous cannot prosper in company with the remiss. All 
those who are not intrepid, when exposed naked amongst 
thistles, will fail when adjured. 

Should I love him who could become the friend of the. 
spoiler! The man who cannot die twice, will govern his 
speech, as if he were dumb. It was not thy disposition to 
put thy countrymen in fear. The fierce youth treasured up 
the gem of protection ; yet for a trifle, for the horn of the 
stranger, in disclosing the word of peace,' he was lost. 
Indirect was thy answer, and thou hast been brave in the 
day of battle. Concealed was that information which the 
inquirer sought — the dweller amongst the high stones,t the 
reaper of his foes, smiled upon the talisman of Adebon. 

• In this little poem, the mystagogue discriminates between those proba^. 
tioners who duly preserved thp secrets with which they were entrusted, and 
those who were tempted by any Consideration whatever to divulge them. To 
the latter, it seems, the protecting talisman would be of no avail. 

+ In the original — high stones, the reaper of ins foes. This is an elliptical 
phrase, implyiog the god who isbabited the temple, constructed of high stdnei, 



Np. XVI. 


That the reader may fprm some idea pf the nature of this 
very obscure and mysterious poem, he must suppose that 
some great public calamity had recently befallen the Brw 
tons-^the same, apparently, which Aneurin deplores in his 
Gododin, Upon this occasion, the Jrchimdgus, in order 
to guard in future against such fatal accidents, devises a 
magical >g for the leader of the native forces. . He is now 
in the mystic cell, giving direction to his attendants for the 
completion of this gre?it work, and intennixing some hints 
for the conduct of a good general, with allusions to the blS' 
%oTy of his times, 

Doleu deu ebyr am gaer, 

Ymduhun am galch, am glaer-^ 

Gwibde a doer adwy aer. 

Clodryd keissidyd kysgut : • 

Brithwe arwe arwrut, 

Ruthyr anoothwe, a uebir j 

Adwy a dpdet ny debit, 

Qdef ynyas dof y wiyt ; 

Pygwgei en aryf, en esgut} 

}Iu tei, en wlyd elwit, 
In the dales where the courses surround the Caer,* HiE + 
^.rouses, who is partly covered ^.nd pajtly bright; — soon shall 
the breachj of slaughter be repaired. 

' * I retain the original word, which implies a circle, or circular temple, as 
^e]l as a militafy fortress. 

-); Bu, tie Helio-9rkite god, who is lepepXe^jy mentioned i^,tlle poeoK 
t Tl}e great massacre which \^^i been recently perpetrated, 


Let the renowned, the enterprising,* be lulled in sleep ; 
and with speed let the variegated web f of heroism, with 
unbroken threads, be woven — the breach which has been 
made shall not furnish a passage. 

Train up his valour to endure the toil of conflict: let him 
frown in arms, expert and active ; but let Uv mildly yfotm 
him with his divine presence ! J 

Gwr a ret pan dychelwit, 
Kywely krymdy, krymdwyn. 
Kyueiliw, nac eiliw etvrwyn. 
Nac emmel dy dywal a therwyn ! 
Terw^ torret, tec teithyawl,- 
Nyt aruedauc e volawt. 
Dyffryderas y vrascawt, 
Molawt rin rymidhin, rymenon. 
Dyssyllei trech tra Manon, 
Disgleiryawr, ac Archawr, Talachon ; 
Ar rud Dhreic, Fud Pharaon, 
Kyueillyawr, en awel, adawavn. 

* These epithets may be referred to £i(iioI> or AnfbTqsiuf, /whose actions are 
recorded in the Gododin. His sl^ep> seedis to have succeeded to the toils of 
the fatal morning. 

t Notwithstanding the extr^eous matter that is interspersed throughout the 
poem, the great enterprise of' the Bard is the constmctidia of this web of he- 
Toism. We learn th^ following particulars respecting it. The £gure uf the 
leader of the army is interwotren in the work, together with those of Hu, or 
the sun, and of the red dragon. .. 

It is described as Brascawd, Magnum Sublatum, a huge, raised (standard), 
the glory of the great field of battle, wliich was to accompany the army, flying 
ill the breeze. 

There was a flowing streamer attached to it, inteiworen with the threads of 
wrat'i, and it was jegardedt as possessing a miraculous pow«r of protection from 
military disgrace. By these circumstances, I deem myself justified in styling 
it a. magival Jiag, or ttandard, though the ' Biird has not expressly introduced 
the phrase. 

J These directions, as well as some of the same tind which occur ia the nex 
paragraph, manifestly refer to the delineation of the comms^nder, upon the 
*»eb of heroismf: and the Bard expresses hiraselfc as if he imagined that th« 
dis|iositioii of the figure mtisti sfluence the conduct and fortune* of the nut. 



The man who rushes forth, when the foe lie in ambaSh, 
is. the bedfellow of him who rests in the narrow house, un- 
der the tumulus,— Let him have the habit, but not the 
disposition of the over-cautious.* 

Mix not thou the cruel with the brave ! If the brave b,e 
broken, fair is his unblemished character— his fame is not 
carried away, 

I have devised a huge standard— the mysterious glory of 
the great field of battle, and its excessive toils. There the 
victor directs his view over Manon,f the luminary, the 
Arkite with the lofty front, and the red dragon, the Budd 
(victory) of the Pharaon (higher powers}-^it shsil accom- 
vmy the people, J flying in the breeze, 

Trengsyd a gwydei neb ae eneu, 
Y ar orthur teith teth a thedyt, 
Menit e osgord, mavr mur onwyd. 

Ar vor ni dheli 
Na chyngwyd, gil, na chyngor, 
Gordibleu eneit talachor ; 
Nyt mwy ry tiudyt y esgor, 
Esgor eidin rac dor, 
Kenan, ^keiii mur e ragor, 
Gossodes ef gledyf ar gfecwd Meiwyr. 

• Th»t is^Let him lie circumspect, but not pusiUaniiSQus. There ' seems ta 
be moie sober, good sense in the maxims of this paragraph, than what usualljr 
falls to the lot of » conjuror. 

t Mr. Owen renders Manon, a paragon of bsautyr a goddess. The vroi'd is, 
in this passage, connected with the masculine ^epithets, Disgleiriaivr, the iumi- 
nary, and Archawr, the Arhiie. It is, therefore, a manifest title of the Helio- 
arkite divinity, whom the Bard also styles Talachon ; which 1 interpret, with 
the lofyfrajit: hot the term may be of foreign origin, and iniply Tal Chan, 
Sffliiipif, ' ' • 

J Adauravin, united hands ; it is, p«ihaps, an error of the copyist fot ildviii^ 
tti? people. 



He should have perished! Even he who brought down 
ruin with his mouth,* by causing the army to halt on the 
ntarch, when the ranks were drawn out, and his effective 
train was as a huge wall, mounted with ashen spears. 

In the fluctuating sea,t thou canst mark neither co- 
operation, design, nor counsel — the front of the circling 
mound protects their lives ; but no more can they extricate 
themselves, nor be delivered, before the barrier of Eidin. 
Kenan, the fair bulwark of excellence, set his sword upoa 
the rampart of the celebrators of May. 

Budic e ren eny : 

^ Annavd Wledic, 

Y gynnwithic, 

Kynlas kynweis, 


Kychuech ny chwyd kychwerw. ' 


Kychwenychwy Enlli weles, 

A lenwis, miran mir edles, 

Ar ystre, gan vore godemles, 

Hu tei, idware yngorvynt^ — 

" Gwyr goruynnaf, ry annet. 

En llwrw rwydheu ry goUet" — 

Collwyd, medwyt menwyt. 

* A gwyddei n(b ae ene^ — who rndde a fall with his mouth. This sarcasm is 
evidently aimed at Vbrtigern, who checked the ardour of his victorious forces, 
upon the second landing of Hengist, and ratified a friendly convention with th^. 
Saxons, as I have already observed in the notes upon the Gododin. From this 
circumstance, the British prince obtained the opprobrious epithet, Gwrtheneu, 
of the ilUomened rrwuth. 

f Alluding to the. votaries of Druidism, who ;were thrown into the utmast 
confusion by the sudden massacre which took place, whilst they were cele- 
brating the solemnities of May ; and witli difficulty protected tjjeir lives within 
tiie mound of thegreat temple, till Kenan, the prince, tbat is, Eidiol, or Am- 
brosius, rallied them from their constematioD, and planned the means of 
defence, ' See thi Gododin, 

586 APPENDIX, No., XVI. 

Benefieent was the exqrtjon of the supreme— the sove- 
reiga in.close4, for the unadvised,, grey-headed chief minis- 
ters, who devised deep counsels. 

The mixture of sweet* will not produei?^ the mutually 
hitter — I have joined in the common wish, the gener9,l wish 
of those who saw Bnlli,^, fiUed with the fair aspect of re- 
turning prosperity, in the sacked course, on a serene morn- 
ing, when Hu sent forth, his dancing beams, making this 
demand— "J require men to be bamagain,X in consideration 
of those liberal ones who will be lo&t !":— f hose blessed ones 
—they have beeij intoxicated. 5ind lost ! 


Gogled Run, Ren, ry dynnit! 

Gorthew, a'm dychuel, dychuelit, 

Gorwyd mwy galwant no melwit. 

Am rwyd, am ry, ystof lit, 

Ystof lit llib Uain. 

Blin, blaen, blen blenwyd. 

Trybedavt y wledic, 

E rwng drem Dremrud : 

Dremryf, ny welet y odeu, ddogyn ryd : 

Ny welet y odeu dhogyn fyd, 

Mor eredic — Dar digeryd, 

Kentaf digonir Kanwelw, 

Kyimwythic lleithie Uwyrdelw, 

Kyfl y olo Goundelw, 

Taf , gwr mawr y wad MaeMeiw, 

* Tliat 18, the unanimous counsel of the hoary Druids. 

t The island of Bardsea. which was sacred to the mysteries of the Helio- 
arkite god, whom the Bard feigus to have foretold the recent calamity by an 
oracle, accompanied with a prophecy of returning prosperity. This DiuidicaL 
ftaud must have been very seasonable in the days of Aneurin. 

. t Tl^e original is ry aitnetk but I thiott imy translation is accurate: it'i» 
usual, in this awcient copy, 19 double; the n, where the preceding vowel isi 
long; thus tann for cin, gwi/nn for gw^n, &c. , , 



Is it the Northern Rhun,* thou supreme, that thou 
drawest forth! The gross chief,t who has returned to me, 
shall be forced to retrace his steps— For steeds they call, 
more than for the circling me§d. 

In the network t whiph surrounds the sovereign, dispose 
thou the threads of wrath. Dispose wrath in the flowing 
streamer- Irlssopfie in front he the glance of the radiant 
presence ! | Let the sovereign stand firm, amongst the rays 
of the ruddy g/awcer— the ruddy glancer, whose purpose 
cannot be viewed in perfect freedom— whose purpose can- 
lipt be viewed, in a statp of security, by those who plow 
the sea. 

By a shout II which cannot be disparaged, the chief of 
pale and livid aspect — even he whose throne is involved in 
utter confusion, will bie first convinced, before Gounddelw^ 
(the white image) is covered, that Maelderw (the proficient 
Qf the oaks) is a mighty operator. 


Delyrat dieirydaf 

Y erry par, ar delw 

Rwysc rwyf bre, 

Rymun gwlat, 

Rymun rymdyre." 

* Probably the son of Einion. This Rhfln lived in the fifth century, and 
was styled one of the three haughty chiefs of Britain. He was the grandson 
oi Cuneddii, whose patrimony was in Cumberland and North Britain. 

-f Hengist, who liad letumed to Britain : his gross bulk is taken notice of by 
Cuhelyn and Aneurin. 

j The Bard returns to his web of heroism. The threads of wrath seem to 
denote some colour which was hoistedi when the army neither gave nor re- 
ceived quarter! 

^ The phrases — radiimt presence, and ruddy glancer, must be referred to the 
Helio-arkite divinity, the patron of the ]>agan Brit«ns. 

II This seems to allude to the shout of determined vengeance, described in 
the Gododin, Song Id. 

1]J I understand this as the name of the magical standard. 


Ysgavl dhisgynnyawd wlawd gymre; 
Nac ysgawt, y redec, ry gire. 
Godiweud godiwes gwlat vre ; 
Ny odiweud o vevyl veint gwre. 
I will immortalize the form of hint who brandishes the 
spear, imitating, in his career, the ruler* of the mbunt, 
the pervadet of the land, by whose influence I am'eihi- 
nently moved. With active tumult did he descend to the 
ravine between the hills ; nor did his preseflte' form a run- 
ning shadow. 

Whatever fate may befal the lofty land, . disgra9e shall 
never be the portion of this assembled train ! 

Here Gwarchan Madderw concludes. What' follows in 
the Archaiologia, consists of various fragments of the 
Gododin, and other pieces of the sixth fcentury. In thef 
ancient MS. from which I copy, these detached scraps are 
properly separated from the preceding poem, and from eagh 
other, by large capital initials. 

• The solar divinity, who, as we ata here told, paid the Bard an extraordi* '■ 
nary visit in the mystic celj. 




mtitnt ^ritisj Coins* 


►EFORE Idismiss the sntject of Druidism, it may not 
be improper to take some notice of those singular coins, 
^hich have been ascribed to the ancient Britons, and ex- 
amine how far the design of the engraver harmonizes with 
that national superstition, which has been transmitted to ua 
by the Bards and mythological Triads. 

. It is known to most readers, that these coins have been 
published, as British, by Camden and his editors, by Dr. 
Borlase, and other learned antiquaries; that repeated at- 
tempts have been made to explain them, and that, notwith- 
standing this, the: peculiarity of their drawing has not been 
satisfactorily accounted for. 

The reason of this difficulty^ as it appears to me, is 
siruply this : the earliest coins of the Britons, like those of 
most other nations, are impressed yfith religious, rather 
than with civil or military devices; and the imagery of 
their national superstition has not been hitherto understood 
by our medallists. 

That these coins are genuine monuments of some nations 
^ho occupied ancient Britain, cannot be matter of doubt 
to the candid crijic. They are often found in various dis- 
tricts of this island, and in no other country. It is ob- 
served, that they have,,, a remote similarity to some old 
Gaulish coins, and yet retain a style and character of their 
own, sufficient to mark them as the property of a distinct 
', people. This is just what might be expected, supposing 
that they are British, as our ancestors originally sprung 
from the same stock as the Gauls, with whom they main- 
tained a religious intercourse to the very sera of the Koman 
qonquest, though they had been for many ages locally and 


politically distinct from them. And lastly, Camden atld his 
editors nave shewn, that many of these coins bear the 
names of British princes and cities, whichare well known 
in history. And tne style and character of the pieces thus 
ascertained to be British, as well as the figures with which 
they are charged, unite them indisputably with certain 
more rude and uninscribed specimens, and prove them to 
have been the property of the same people. 

As to the antiquity of these monuments, it may he re- 
marked, that those which are inscribed with legends, gene- 
rally present the names of princes who are known to have 
lived in the century immediately preceding the birth of 
Christ, or in the first century of our present sera :^— as 
Cassivellaunus; Qunobelinus, Caractaais, Arviragus, Boa- 
dicia, &c. And these have not only inscriptions in Roman 
characters, but also display a comparative degree of ele- 
gance in the design and execution. Here we may imagine 
the drawing of the Briton corrected by the Roman artist : 
and this series commences with Casswellaunus, who was 
contemporary with Julius Caesar. 

Upon the uninscribed coins, we generally perceive jSgnres 
of the same kind ; but they exhibit a drawing compara- 
tively rude and uncouth : hence i-t is reasonable to infer, 
that they are of somewhat higher antiquity than the more 
finished Specimens; and that they were struck sometime 
before the Roman invasion; and consequently, were the 
production of ages, during which the Britons were inde- 
pendent, and their rdigious and political establishments as 
yet continued to Subsist. 

To him who is advanced a single degree in the study of 
antiquity, the symbols of heathen superstition upon several 
of these coins, must present themselves at the first glance. 
We have here the figures of the sun and moon, well-known 
objects of British devotion; the figure of Janiis, the Saidi 
of the Britons; the figure of Jlpollo with his harp, or the 
Bell and Tydain of the same people; with many others 
equally decisive. Severaf specimens also present masks of 
different shapes, implying the mysterious nature of the 
subject. Hence it may be conjectured, that the Britons 
did not iiitend these pieces for the common medium of 
trade, but that they were struck in honour of their gods,^ iri 
commemoration of the solemnities of their great festivals^ 
and upon other sacred occasions. 


, Upon the sacred medals of the Greeks and Romans, we 
often find the elevation of magnificent temples, stately por- 
ticoes, or elegant altars. 

The Britons could display nothing in this style of magni- 
ficence: but, if 1 niistake not, they have taken care to 
exhibit something that more immediately connects their 
medals with their national superstition. We here find large 
studded circles, occupying a considerable part of the field ; 
and these are often concentric with other, plain circles, so 
that they give exact representations of those heathenish 
temples, which abound in this island, and which generally 
consist of a circle of massy stones, either surrounded by a 
bank of earth, or else inclosing such a bank. 

It may also be worthy of rema.rk, that the curious gold 
coins published by Dr. Borlase, were discovered in the hill 
of Karn-brS, a place remarkable for its assemblage of 
silmost every species of monument pertaining to British su-i 
perstition. The learned author describes these monuments 
at large, and then recapitulates their names, as follows : 

" In this hill of Karn-brS, then, we find rock-basons, 
" circles, stones erect, remains oi CromUhs, Carns, a, grove 
" of oaks, A cave, and an inclosure, not of military, but 
"• religious stractviie: and these are evidences sufficient of 
" its having been a place of Druid worship; of which it 
" may be some confirmation, that the town, about half-a- 
" mile cioss the brook, which runs at th« bottom of this 
" hill, was anciently called Red-drew, or, more rightly, 
" Ryd-drew, i. e. the Druid's Ford, or crossing of the 
" brook." (Antiq. of Cormeall, p. 120.) 

Would it be an unreasonable conjecture, that the gold 
which was carefully concealed id the centre of this conse- 
crated spot, and which bore evident marks of Druidical 
superstition, had belonged to the Druids of Karn-bre hill, 
and had been there deposited, when the order were com- 
pelled to consult their safety by a precipitate flight i 

These pieces, it is true, must have been some of their 
most portable property ; but if, like the glain and the egg, 
they were viewed as badges of the order, which, if found 
upon them, would expose them to the fury of their ene- 
mies; or. if the devices upon them were regarded as magical 


and talismanic, we need not be at a loss to assign the reason 
why they should, have been left behind. 

These bints are not thrown out gratuitously. There ex- 
ists considerable evidence, that the Britons had certain 
pieces of gold and silver, which they viewed • in the several 
lights here suggested, and which answered the description 
of severf(l of these coins. 

I have shewn at large, that the Welsh people, in the 
time of their native princes, and even in more recent ages, 
religiously kept up an imitation of the customs and institu- 
tions of their remote progenitors: and here a custom pre- 
sents itself, which seems to intimate the real use of some of 
these ancient pieces. 

Mr. Owen, in his Dictionary V. Arian dlws, takes notice 
of Certain silver medals, which were given as the reward of 
merit to the victors in poetical competition, and also in 
public sports or games ; and observes, that the prize for 
poetry was marked with a figure of a chair ; and for music, 
"with that of a harp. 

Thus, the medal awarded to each candidate bore a symbol 
of the art, in which he had distinguished himself; and 
was therefore carefully preserved by him, as a memorial of 
the honour which he had acquired. Hence we may infer, 
that those pieces which bore an impression of the gods and 
temples of the Druids, were regarded as badges of Druidical 

Taliesin, who, upon all occasions, is ambitions of proving 
himself a worthy successor of the primitive Druids, seems 
repeatedly to hint that this was actually the case. Thus he 
says — " With the circle of ruddy gems upon my goldea 
" shield, do I not preside over the area of blood, which is 
" guarded by a hundred chiefs ?" * 

Here we find the splendid shield was the appropriate 
badge of the chief Druid: and what can be implied by the 
studded circle upon the shield of the Helio-arkite gqd and 
of his priest, unless it was an image of Caer Sidi, the 
celestial zone, and the circular, temple — the same, in fact, 
which appears upon several of these coins ? 

Again — in the same poem, the Bard exhibits a piece of 

■ >i ■ I III ' r- 1 I I I " - ' 

• Appendix, No. Vll. 

^n.f.«, . 


gold, as the credential of his order and distinguished rank. 
" With my golden preeious device upon my piece of" goldy 
" lo, I am that splendid one, who sportively come from the 
" invading host of the FerylL" 

The piece of gold seems to have heeri ostentatiously 
worn, as the public insigne of this heathen priest; for he is 
thus addressed in another poem — " Come with me into the 
" city, and thou shalt have mead which I have prepared, 
" O thou, with the pure gold upon thi/ clasp!"* 

More . passages to the same purpose might be adduced ; 
but, for the present, I leave it to the consideration of the 
reader, whether these hints do not furnish a just presump- 
tion, that some of the singular pieces which still remain, 
were a kind of honorary medals, which the Druids distri^ 
buted amongst their disciples, according to their respective 
Tanks and attainments: and if this be admitted, it will fol- 
low, that they were not designed as the medium of trade. 

I shall, in the- coufse, of this Essay, produce some evi- 
dence, that certain pieces of gold or silver, which answer 
the description of several of these old coins, were also 
regarded as charms or talismans, and as such delivered to 
those votaries of Bardism, who took up arms when the 
Druids sanctified war, for the defence of the country. 

But, first o£. all, let us attentively consider some of the 
extravagant images which appear upon these reliques of 
antiquity. Let us select the figure of the horse, upon one 
of the Karnbre coins, which Dr. Borlase thus describes. 

" No. XVI. (see the annexed plate) is the best preserved 
" coiii, as well as largest and most distinct, which I have 
" seen of the gold coins found in Cornwall. The profile is 

well pi'oportioned, and neither destitute of spirit nor 
" expression: and it is somewhat surprising, that an artist, 
" who could design the human face so well, should draw 
" the horse so very indifferently on the other side. The 
" head has two rows of curls above the laureated diadem, 
" and the folds of the garment rise up round the neck, close 
" to the ear. The reverse, a horse, a wheel, balls and cres- 
" cents, as in the rest; it weighs four pennyweights and 
" fourteen grains." 

_J _9_9 

* Appeadix, No. 8. 



Our author seems to impute the deviation from nature,- 
in the figure of this horse, to the waflt of skill in the artist. 
But I think it impossible to suppose^! that the person who 
drew and executed the human head, with its complex or- 
naiments, should have wanted ability to delineate the' more 
simple form of the animal with accuracy and neatness, had 
that been his real design. 

Instead of this, we here find a horse with the head and 
beak of a bird, a body bent downwards in the shape of a 
boat, and little groups of balls aad leaves substituted for 
legs. It is therefore evident, that sometViing more is here 
intended, than the mere delineation of a horse. 

, That the British artists were capable of marking out their 
design with a certain ' degree of precision, may also be 
inferred, from a comparison of this coin with other speci- 
mens in the same series. Thus in No. XX. (see the an- 
nexed plate), we have the same monstrous figure struck 
from anotiier die ; and wherever the figure, called the horse, 
can DC traced upon the Karn-bre coins, he constantly pre- 
sents the head of a bird, and the body of a boat. 

This grotesque singularity, in sUch a variety of specimens, 
cannot be wholly ascribed to the rudeness of the designer's 
art, or to the accidental wandering of an unpracticed hand. 
Such an imiform departure from the simplicity of nature, 
must have been the effect of choice, and therefore intended 
to convey some determinate meaning. 

In this favourite figure, then, we are to view some com- 
plex symbol, some representation of a group' of ideas, which 
the designer had in contemplation. We must seek for the 
subject of this symbol in the civil, the military/, or the reli- 
gious affairs of the British people; and, as I have already 
hinted, we shall find it only in tlie lafter department : for as 
the symbols upon the British coins allude to religion in 
general, so they have a particular reference to that Helio- 
arJcite superstition, which we have already discovered in the 
ancient Bards and mythological Triads.* And I cannot 
regard the most prominent figure on these coins, namely, 
^he monstrous ho7'se, with the head of a bir^ and the bodg 

* tience the figures of the sun and moon, the frequent repetition of Apollo 
and his harp, the sptca or ear of corn, the galtey or iUp, and the !uiic»e, whicli 
i«ptec^ted both the new moon and a small boat. 


tf a boat or ship, as any other than a symbol of Ked or 
Ceridzoen, the Arkite goddess, or Ceres of th^ Britons. 

This is precisely the image which Taliesin gives ns of 
that mystical personage. We have repeatedly heard him 
describing her as a hen: and in giving an account of his 
initiation into her tnysteries^ he says of this portentous heq 
" On the edge of a covering cloth (the mystic veil) she 
" caaght me in her fangs — In appearance she was as large 
" as a. proud mare, which she also resembled — then she was 
" swelling out, like a ship upon the waters — into a dark re- 
" ceptacle she cast me : she carried me back into the sea of 
" Jbylan." (W. Archaiol. p. 19. See also the preceding 
Essay, Sect. III.) 

Here the astonished aspirant beholds the goddess Cerid" 
wen in the coipplex form of a bird, a mare, and a ship. 
Such was her image in the sacred circle, or her portraiture 
upon the veil of the sanctuary. How could such a repre- 
sentation have been made in painting or sculpture, but by 
isketching a figure with the head, and perhaps the wiAgs of 
a bi7'd; by giving the body a certain bend, so as to resemble 
a boat, or the hulk of a ship ; by adding the tail of a horse, 
and some substitutes for. four legs; and by adjusting the 
pisirts, so as rudely to imitate the figure of a horse ? 

But by this contrivance, the identical figure on the 
British coins is produced. This figure, therefore, is no 
other than Ceridwen, the Ceres of our iancestors.- The Bai-d 
and the engraver could never have coincided in this mon-» 
strous departure from the course of njiture, without having 
the same.iniagiriary being in view. 

But that the ideas^ darkly conveyed by the mystical 
horse, were perfectly familiar to the peysons for whose use 
the Karn-bre coins 'were iiesigned, is evident, from the 
abridgements which were allowed, and the simple touches 
which often served to intimate the presence of the compli- 
cated figure. Upon this subject, I shall adduce the words 
of Dr. Borlase. 

" There is one thing more necessary to be observed, in 
" order to place these coins with propriety, which is, that 
" several of the Karn-br^ coins have not the horse on the 
« reverse, (as No. VIII. IX. X. XL) (Vide Ncr. XL 

69 a 


" plaie annexed), but instead thereof, have several meMibers 
" and symbols adjusted together, iii^uch a manner as to 
" imitate the shape of a horse, and TDecome, when joined 
" together, the emblem, rather thati the figure of that 
" creature, which the first engraver knew no better how to 
" design. These several symbols. are not to be explained, 
" but Dy comparing the coins in which we find the same 
" parts inserted in the composition of an entire figure, and 
" others, in which the same parts are detached and an- 
" connected. 

" The latter must derive their light from the fonuer. 
" For example : in No. VIII. you find three of the figures 
" marked in the table of symbols (Borlase's Antiq. No. L)- 
" In No. IX. there are four of the same symbols. — What 
" should be the intent of placing such figures, in such 
" numbers, on these reverses? Why, in No. XVIII. (see 
" the plate annexed) and XIX. we find the legs of the horse 
" made in this unnatural fashion ; and it is observable, that 
" where the horse is not, there these legs, the most useful 
" parts of this creature, are placed. - - - - They are 
" placed two and two, with a bail or wheel between them, 
" as in the coins which ■ have the horse entire. Between 
" them, the half moon (of which by and by) dips Ms convex 
" pai't somewhat in the manner of the horse's barrel, above 
" wljich, another crescent-like bunch forms the back; a rpund 
" ball turns to shape the buttock, and on the fore part a 
" thick handle of a javelin slopes upwards from the breast, to 
«" form the neck and crest of the horsed (Borlase's Antiq. of 
Cornwall, p. 276.) 

Thus far Dr. Borlase, who only contemplates the civil 
and military affairs of the Britons, and imputes every de- 
^^ation from nature to the rudeness of the engraver's art. 
But as I have shewn, that the entire figure, called the 
horse, was a symbol of the British Ceres, so it appears that 
each of the heterogeneous parts which enter into the com- 
position of that figure, was symbolical of something in the 
mystical, establishment of that goddess. 

Kfed, or Ceridwen, was an imaginary genius, supposed 
to preside over the sacred ship; and in these coins a de- 
tached hinette, or boat, is actually substituted for the body 
of the horse ; and in one specimen, that part presents the 
elevation of the' Cromlech^ Maenarch, or Maen Ketti, whicli 


covei-ecl tHe cell of that divinit}^; whilst the back of the 
figure is composed of a crescent, the celestial symbol of 
the same mystical personage. 

Instead of the hinder parts of the horse, we remark cer- 
tain hollow circles,* or ovals, exactly resembling those cir- 
cular and oval temples which embellish the Antiquities of 
Cornzmll, arid to which the Bards so frequently allude. 


As a substitute for the neck and crest, eithet a staff", or 
the bratick of some evergreen, slopes upwards, from the di- 
rection of the boat, which constitutes the centre of the 
figure. This staff or branch I regard as the gestamen of 
the priests — the Hudlath and liudwydd, or magical wand, 
mentioned by Taliesin; and the branch whicli was carried 
by the Bard, as the badge of ^ his sacred character, and of 
which Aneurin says — " That branch might whisper, before 
" the fierce onset, the effectual songs which claimed obe- 
" dient attention — the songs of Llywy, the assuager of 
" tumult and battle. Then would the sword retire to the 
" left side, the warrior, with his hand, would support the 
" empty corslet, and the sovereign, from his treasure chest, 
" would search out the precious reward." (Gododin, 
Song 25.) 

The head and beak are those of a bird, that is, of Cerid- 
wen, the hen ; and the legs are composed of little strait 
bars, of equal length and size, which may be referred tp 
those lots or tallies, so often mentioned by Taliesin and 
Merddin. These tallies are generally mounted at both ends 
by thick rings, or perforated globules, which I can compare 
to nothing but the sacred glains described in Camden's 

This complete figure of a horse, therefore, as herp de- 
picted, seems to have represented, not only the person of 
the British Ceres, but also the whole of her mystical esta- 
blishment.! The belly was the sacred ship, of which that 
goddess was tlie representative genius. The back was the 
moon, her celestial emblem. The hinder part of the body 
constituted the sacred circle, which inclosed the Maenarch, 
stone ark, or woriib of the. goddess, in which her aspirants 

■ r ' ' ' ' 

* In Camden's cdins, which seem tohafe been struck in ages when our my- 
thologists paid more regard to the simplicity of nature, we generally find ihe^ie 
circles distinct from the figure of the horse. 


were regenerated. The neck was the mystical staff, or 
branch, carried by ber priests, as the badge of their office 
iand authority. The legs were the lots or tallies, by which 
her will was interpreted, and these were guarded by the 
mystical glains, the appropriate insignia of her votaries ; 
whilst the head and beak represented that bird, whose form 
she had assumed, with some allusion, perhaps, to the birds 
of augury, mentioned by Taliesin and Merddin. 

Such is the whimsical fancy of heathenism. It is not my 
, "business to defend its various conceits, but only to point 
them out, and explain their meaning, as well as J can. I 
may, however, vindicate the cause of my countrymen so 
far, as to remind the reader, that the unnatural combina- 
tion of parts, in the forming of sacred symbols, was not 
peculiar to them, The pagans of most barbarous nations 
Jiad gods equally monstrous, and perhaps more inexplicable. 
The various symbols which make up the image of the Bri-t 
tish Ceres, 9,re agreeable to general mythology. Mr. Bryant 
has shewn, thtit Ceres was the genius of .the ark ; that a 
boat, or a crescent, was her symbol ; that she was the same 
character as Hippa, the mare; and that she was generally 
attended by her favourite bird. 

Were the image of this goddess, with her British em- 
blems, to be designed by a Greek or Roman, in the meri-» 
dian age of their refinement, he might represent her as a 
venerable matron, seated in a boat, with her various attri- 
butes disposed about her in decent order. But the unrefined 
Britons were satisfied with a grotesque figure, which com-; 
prehended the various emblems of their goddess, and, as we 
learn from Taliesjn, such figures were introduced into their 

In the light with which I view the British coins, I cannot 
help admiring the precision with which they display the 
very same mass of superstition, which J had already con., 
templated in the Bards and the Triads. There I had traced 
the lore of Druidisui in written language, which, though- 
mystical, was seldom impenetrably obscure: here I read 
the same legend, impressed ppou tablet^ of gold, and silver, 
ftnd brass. 

The reader will have gathered from the preceding Essay, 
that ttjough the mythological horses of the Britoris are not 

ANCIENT BllITlSH C0I1*fS. 599 

invariably to be regarded as symbols of Ceres, yet they had 
always some reference to a sacred ship. Thus the black 
horse of the seas, which carried the eight mystical personages 
out of Caledonia into Mona, and the two others which are 
classed with him, have evidently this allusion. 

The steed of the S7/« is repeatedly mentioned by Taliesin: 
but it must be recollected, that the solar divinity was ho- 
noured in conjunction with the Diluvian patriarch; that he 
presided in the same Caer Sidi, which was sacred to Ce- 
ridwen; and that the great feat of his horse was to carry 
bis master from the marriage feast of the ocean, and to 
make his path be perceived in the sea, and in the mouths 
of rivers J so that the whole tradition respecting mytholo- 
gical horses, refers to the history artd connexions of that 
mj'-slical character, who appeai'ed to every astonished and 
disnlayed aspirant in the shape and size of a proud mare, 
yet swelled out like a ship on the waters, and actually set sail. 

Instead of a horse, we are, then, for the most part, to 
contemplate a mare, the symbol or personification of the 
British Ceres, and the same as the mythological Hippa of 
the ancients. 

It is not. my intention to enlarge upon the subject of 
these coins ; but irierely to point out the use of Bardic 
imagery in their explanation : I shall, therefore, only con- 
sider the figure of the horse and his accompaniments, upon 
some specimens of Camden's collection. 

In No. 6, Tab. 1. (see the plate annesied), the drawing ap- 
pears to be purely British. The obverse presents the riide 
figure of a horse, stooping under an enormous vase, which, 
instead of being laid upon his back, seems to rise imme- 
diately out of his bodyy which it completely covers. This 
vase, having a ridge of pearls round its border, corresponds 
with Taliesin's description of that famous emblem of Dru- 
idism, the sacred- pair, or cauldron of Ceridwen, and the 
ruler of the deep. 

Neud pair pen Annwfn ! Pwy y vynud ? 
Gwrym am ei oror a mererid - - - 

" Is not this the cauldron of the ruler of thei deep! What 
" is its quaUty? With thetidge of pearls lound its border.?" 
fSee Appendix, No. III.) 

600 REMARKS uposr 

As in the Karn-br6 coins, the boat, the circular temple, 
the magic branch, &c. constitute the several parts of -the 
mystical horse, so, in the presejit instance, we find that 
important vase, which was of indispensible use in the sacred 
mysteries, intimately connected with the person of the Ar- 
kite goddess. 

The symbolical animal supports upon its head a circle, or 
disk, containing three small rings, or balls. These diminu- 
tive figures, which embellish most of the British coins, 
must have had some definite import. The Ovum Anguinum, 
described by Pliny, was esteemed in Gaul, Insigne Druidis, 
the peculiar badge of a Druid. The same was known in 
Britain, where it was equally respected: hence the Bard 
says — " Lively was the aspect of him who, in his prowess, 
" had snatched over the ford, that involved ball, which 
" casts its rays to a distance, the splendid product of the 
*' adder, shot forth by serpents." (See Append. No. XIV.) I 
have shewn, that the glain, or glass ring, was a similar 
mark of distinction amongst our heathen ancestors : and I 
presume that the balls and small rings upon the British 
coins, are intended for some of those sacred trinkets; and 
that they' are introduced as emblems of those characters who 
had a' right to carry them. Hence the presence of the 
ovum, or glain, implies the presence of a liruid, or priest. 
And the three balls, inclosed within one circle, and sup- 
ported by the mystical goddess, may be viewed as symbols 
of the three orders of the priesthood — the Druids, properly 
so called, the Bards, and the Ovates, 

Over the sacred vase is a large studded circle, raised upon 
the ground of the coin, and inclosing another circle, with 
four raised studs in the centre. As in these coins we often 
find similar circles, encompassing an appropriate part of 
the field, and ambitiously exhibited, I conclude they also ' 
must have had some determinate meaning.* Medallists have 
sometimes .called them strings of pearl: but here is no ap- 
pearance of strings, and the studs are, beyond all propor- 
tion, too la^ge for pearls. It may also be remarked, that 
the studs are not adjusted as ornaments of the principal 
figures, nor thrown carelessly down, as if they were in- 
tended for the display of riches ; but, on the contrary, they 
are disposed on thejield jn regular order, as the outlines of 
permanent demarkation. ' I therefore regard them as figuresi 


of those circular temples, which are so frequent in several 
districts of Britain, and some of whiclj are ascertained to 
have been sacred to Ceres, and those characters which were 
honoured in society with that goddess. 

On the coin before us we have, then, the circular temple, 
with its central Adytum, or sacred cell, inclosed within a 
raised mound, as we often find it in British monuments. 

On one side of this temple, and over the vase, is a figure 
resembling a rose, which probably alludes to the select plants 
and flowers employed in the preparation of the cauldron ; or 
to the flowers which the Bards and Druids wore at the so- 
lemn festivals. 

The reverse of this coin gives a duplicate of the mystical 
animal, as well as of the temple, and the disk with the three 
connected bafls. But the horse is now delivered of his load, 
the season of the great solemnity, when the cauldron was 
produced, is now past. Two of the horse's feet rest upon a 
small chest, or some such thing; the disk is taken down 
from his head, and he is in the act of depositing a figure 
like the leaf of a trefoil, which was the symbol of union in 
the three orders. This coin is wholly occupied by memo- 
rials of the worship of Ceres. 

No. 8 (see the plate annexed) is a gold coin which, in the 
figure of the horse, displays the free hand of the British my- 
thologist, contemning alike the simplicity of nature, arid the 
elegance of art. Though the group of heterogeneous mem- 
bers produce something like the rude outlines of a horse, 
just enough to procure it that name amongst antiquaries, 
nothing can be more dissimilar to that animal in all his parts. 

This horse, like those on the Karn-br§ coins, has the 
sharp beak of a bird — so Ceridwen assumed the shape of a 
bird, and was emphatically styled the hen. This horse, 
upon his bird's head, has a high crest — so Ceridwen was 
described as Idr ddu gopawg, a black, high-crested hen. 
This crest is divided — so Ceridwen was Idr grafrudd, gri- 
besgar — a hen with red fangs, and a divided crest. And the 
divided crest is curved into the horns of a cow, or the shape 
of a crescent; but the cow and the crescent were symbols of 

The body of the horse is bent downwards, so as to re- 


semble a boat, or the hulk of a ship. Thus Ceridwen pre- 
sented herself to the eyes of the noviciate, in the combined 
form of a bird, and a proud mare; and, at the same time, 
began to swell out like a ship on th^ waters. That the cur- 
vature of the body is actually intended to imitate a ship, or 
boat, is evident from the Karn-brS coins, and several 
others, in which the simple and detached figure of a boat is 
substituted for the body of the horse. This is therefore 
the image which' Taliesin contemplated" with drea^ and 
astonishment, upon his entrance into the mystic hall of 

. Instead of feet, this horse, like those of the Karn-hre 
coins, has short, detached figures, resembling billets, dr 
tallies of wood, and these are headed with the sacred glains. 
Such feet, as 1 have already hinted, seem to represent those 
tallies or lots, so often mentioned by the. Bards as means of 
divination, or of discovering the will of the gods ; and the 
priests, - symbolized by the glains, were the interpreters. 

This grotesque horse holds in his month a luniform figtirt, 
resembling a covered coracle, or British b6at. It may he 
recollected that Ceridwen, the mare-bird, covered her aspi- 
rant in a small coraclej and carried him into the sea. 

Three Ova are suspended from the tail of the horse, and 
appear as if thfey were dropping to the ground. These are, 
probably, the thr'ee orders, symbolized by the Ova proceed- 
ing from the mystical sanctuary, which is described as the 
\vomb of the goddess. 

On ^ach side of the neck is the trefoil, or emblem of 
union amongst the three orders. These seem to have fallen 
from a coracle, which is reversed or emptied under two cir- 
cular temples. 

Under the belly of the horse, we remark a plain c'rcle, 

inclosing a wheel. In the same situation, we sometimes 

find a studded circle, or concentric circles, and sometimes>a 

female figure rising to view. 

Mr. Walker, in his notes upon Camden's coins, says, 

that " The wheel under the horse, amongst the Romans, 

" intimated the making of an highway for carts, so many 

" of which being, in the Roman times, made in this 

*' country, well deserved such a memorial." Upon which 

passage Dr. Borlase remarks — " What the wheel signified 



" among the Romans, I shall not dispute; but it could not 
" be inserted in the British coins (as he seems to imply) for 
" that purpose; for there were no Roman ways made in 
" Britaiii till after Claudius's conquest, and we find the 
" wheel common in Cunobelin's coins, and in Cassibelan's 
" - - - - and also in the Cornish coins, which, from 
" all their characters, appear to be older than the rest." 
(Antiff. of Cornwall, p. 277.) 

These circles, wheels, and female figures, are, probably, 
various representations of Arianrod, the goddess of the silver 
wheel, the Iris of antiquity, of whom we have had some 
account in the poem called the chair of Ceridwen. We are 
there told, that when Avagddu, the son of Ceridwen, wanted 
a rampart to protect him from the repetition of the deluge, 
Gwydion (Hermes) composed this sacred character of cer- 
tain flowers, and adorned her with the bold curves, and the 
virtue of various folds. — " Then the goddess of the silver 
' " wheel, of auspicious mien, the dawn of serenity, the great- 
(' est restrainer of sadness, in behalf of the Britons, speedily 
" throws round his hall the stream of the iB.\s; a stream 
" which scares aWay violence from the earth, and causes the 
" bane of its former state, round the circle of the world, to 
" subside." 

As this character obtained her name from a wheel, that 
implement may be regarded as her proper emblem. But 
instead of a wheel,